30+ Independent Interiors & Lifestyle Stores from around the UK
How many times have you seen that IKEA black and white Stockholm rug on Pinterest and splashed across the pages of magazines? Yes sure, it's lovely, but then again everyone has a copy of the exact same thing. Isn't this annoying?
There's a solution to this. Buy from independent, smaller shops. They either produce or source from a number of cool brands, both in the UK or abroad so you get access to products that are on trend but not mass produced and that are not that easy to find on the high street.
So while you spend your hard earned cash this season, try to balance your purchases between the big names that - I get it, we all love - and the little guys who have so much to give (especially when it comes to service!). Here are my reasons for shopping small.
Small businesses contribute to the local economy
Small businesses are the backbone of the high street. They play a huge role in our communities all over the country, contributing billions of pounds to the economy. It is now, more than ever, crucial that we keep our high streets alive and booming. Lively high streets bring people together. On the contrary, ran down high streets give the impression that the economy (local and national) is problematic. That can also drive the price of homes nearby down and ultimately crash the property market.
Shop owners usually pay rent to a landlord and give work to employees who often live locally. And when they are online, they still use local suppliers, especially where they produce or stock items for resale.
The Customer comes first, always
It is well known that small business owners very often go above and beyond to serve their customers. You will have great service and often with a personal touch. Nothing like going into a shop and the owner remembering your name!
Unusual gifs & Objects of desire
Some small shops specialise in objects of desire, art and products that you will not find ANYWHERE else on the high street. We are talking about original, hand-crafted products that will bring back memories or help you capture a perfect moment for years to come.
“Supporting local businesses is crucial if we want to keep our High Streets alive and buzzing with independent, exciting and creative shops. Don’t just talk about it - do something about it - shop local and make a real difference.”
— PATRICIA VAN DEN AKKER, THE DESIGN TRUST
If it's out of stock they can often re-order it for you
Love something but it is now out of stock? Ask nicely and the store can probably order it back with their next order from that specific supplier.
They can customise products to your specifications
Not exactly the colour you need that chair in? Small businesses can help you customise products directly. And if you can't find the product you need they can also suggest alternatives based on their product catalogues (many products don't make it to the front end after all.
Small businesses lead by innovation
Often starting with one person's idea to fill in a gap in the market, they address local needs. Owners have to show flexibility to the ever changing environment around them and this helps them become inventive and innovative.
They make us social
According to a research commissioned by American Express in 2014, local high streets with a higher proportion of independent, small shops were also found to increase social interactions between shoppers, with people who reside in these areas more likely to say ‘hello’ to people on their high street than those in comparable areas with fewer independents (163 times a year vs. 96).
Similarly, shoppers on independent high streets are twice as likely to have a conversation with someone they do not know (56 conversations annually compared to just 28). I have personally realised that whenever I visit such small businesses, I end up having proper conversations with the store owners and then the deal is sealed - I buy stuff and I return for more.
The personal touch
Residents from areas with a higher proportion of small, independent businesses consider local shopkeepers their friends and a quarter know them by their first name. But even if the small shop-owner does not have a brick and mortar shop down your high street, you still enjoy the personal touch.
Let's face it. They sell products that are unique
Why not give it a try and start supporting these independent shops through the JUST A CARD campaign? This campaign aims to encourage people to support, value and buy from artists, designers, independent shops and small businesses by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even 'just a card' are so vital to their prosperity and survival.
The campaign came about when Artist & Designer Sarah Hamilton saw the quote "If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open" by store keepers who'd recently closed their gallery. This prompted a call to action!
Designer/Makers, independent shops, galleries and small businesses need a voice. People seldom realise the considerable costs involved in exhibiting at design shows or keeping a shop open. Stand fees, power, materials, wages etc need to be met before even a penny of profit can be realised. Running a shop is often a labour of love. Without dedication and passion, and crucially sales, it would be another boarded up eyesore.
Scroll down for some of our favourite Indie Shops around the UK and links to artists that are part of the Just A Card Campaign.
1. LOVE FRANKIE - Devon
34 High Street, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5RY
This is the home of made to order lampshades, creative lighting & interiors. Lover of colour, the dark side and all things kitsch, Love Frankie are on a mission to inject a big ‘ol slice of fun back into the interiors world. With their signature collection of made to order statement lampshades, kooky lamps and unique homewares, Love Frankie are passionate about showing you how easy it is to add a playful, eclectic touch to your homes.
2. TINDESIGN - Leigh on Sea
3 Ashleigh Drive, Leigh on Sea, SS9 1AD
Offering an eclectic mix of homeware, lighting, cool wallpaper, wall art, eccentric furniture and local artisan pieces. Tin Design is based in Leigh on Sea, they share a passion for Interior Design and all things different to the high street. They have products created by local artists, including photography by Darren Skerrit and art prints by Antony 'H' Haylock. Local artist Daisy Bond is also stocked, and her A4 prints are only £10.
3. HOMEBARN - Marlow
Tithe Barn, Wilton Farm, Marlow Rd, Little Marlow, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 3RR
A destination interiors shop, Homebarn is run by sisters in law, Sarah and Sally from their huge barn in Marlow, stocked full of vintage furniture, ceramics and reclaimed dining tables (these are usually around £1,400 but can go up to £3,500 depending on size and material). The store also offers an exceptional variety of ceramics for every day and decorative use as well as textiles.
4. AIR & GRACE - London
60 Bermondsey Street, London
Created by women, for women, Air & Grace make ‘astonishingly comfortable’* shoes that quite simply look amazing. Claire often found herself the only woman in the room at range meetings fighting the case for shoes women actually wanted to wear... Frustrated with the footwear industry notion that comfort and style could not co-exist, she took the leap to go it alone and create Air & Grace - shoes as covetable as they are comfortable. ( *India Knight, The Sunday Times).
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Online - click here
Originally called MiaFleur, and launched in 2012 by Jacqui, Hollie and Amelia Brooks. Audenza is an award winning online homeware boutique; created to add edge, style and interest to the homes of interesting people and selling a fabulously quirky selection of homewares which ooze character and scream fearless style.
6. My Billet Doux - Yorkshire
My Billet Doux™ is a small luxurious silk cushion designed with vintage and antique ribbons based on the idea of hiding (or leaving) a note for a loved one. A discreet zip pocket at the back contains a notebook and a pen for you to leave messages, love notes or drawings, for when you’re apart – or when you’re together! As well as running My Billet Doux, Natalia has L'Atelier which is also packed with beautiful products!
7. JAY & Co
Online - click here
Jay Blades, co-founder of award winning former social enterprise Out of the Dark, is a highly skilled community leader who has turned his focus to Jay & Co, a social enterprise that helps reach disadvantaged and disengaged groups in the community, fire them up and re-engage them through exciting activities. His areas of expertise are dying British crafts, business and life skills.
8. The Future Kept - Fairlight
Jeska & Dean Hearne, husband & wife, are adventure seekers, photographers, the owners of two mischievous cats, and creators of The Future Kept. Since 2014 The Future Kept has been part of a new adventure on their journey through life together.
9. Home by Kirstie - Cardiff
64A Glenroy St, CF24 3JY Cardiff
Based in Cardiff, this is a brick and mortars as well as online shop. Born from a love of design and a belief that homes should inspire, Home byKirsty is a collection of beautiful, modern products lovingly curated by lighting and homeware designer-maker Kirsty Patrick. Discover statement Mid Century Scandi lighting, pure lambswool Melin Tregwynt Welsh Blankets + cushions, and Terazzo Jesmonite coasters and House Doctor concrete plant pots and glass vases for your home. Decorate your monochrome nurseries with Wee Gallery Growth Charts and Organic Soft Rattles for the little ones. Stand out with statement wood, mother of pearl and brass Wolf & Moon Earrings.
10. Luxe 39 - London
London - online
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