Seeking out independent shops is something I love to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I do shop online too, but there is something very special (even old-fashioned) in visiting an actual shop, owned and run by actual humans. The personal service, for one thing, owners will get to know you by name.
I find the individual tastes of the shop owners are so vividly executed too. Through stock and merchandising, the independent owner creates their vision. So much so, that when going back into a regular high street chain, it can feel dull, dreary and despite their best efforts, and bigger budgets, boring.
Today I’m sharing three independents in the North West that are carving out their own places on the high street.
In a world where there are so many Goliath’s, I’m all for supporting the David’s. The Underdogs, the dreamers. The black sheep.
These shops that have been created with the hope and vision that we all don’t have to (or want to) buy from the same place, wear the same things or follow the same crowd.
Championing the maker, supporting the local economy and keeping the high street alive. There are so many high streets littered with betting shops and charity shops now. Indie’s will, if we let them, save us.
Featured indie shops
49 Hilton Street/Beaumont Organic
Situated in the thriving Northern Quarter in Manchester (on 49 Hilton Street no less!) is the new home of Beaumont Organic. Before opening at number 49 this ethical womenswear brand was based online. Now they continue to sell their products internationally via the website and have a beautiful 3-storey shop too. Beaumont Organic create “contemporary conscious clothing”, the shop also stocks smaller products such as ceramics, candles and some gorgeous leather handbags. Because the shop is spread across three floors it is the ideal spot for workshops and events too, jewellery making and macrame are just a couple of the recent workshops they’ve facilitated with local makers.
49 Hilton Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 2EF and at https://www.beaumontorganic.com/
Lomas & Lomas
Further afield but well worth a day trip is Lomas and Lomas in the beautiful village of Hayfield, Derbyshire. This is the brainchild of husband and wife team Sharon and Garry Lomas. Previously working in an office Sharon developed different side hustles to enable her to be more creative. Gary is a photographer and eventually, they came up with this idea that they could combine their creative talents in a photography gallery and homeware shop. All the homeware is developed from ideas, imagery and themes from Garry’s photography. They also sell ranges from local makers too.
The Old Butchers Shop, Market Street, Hayfield, Derbyshire SK22 2EW and at https://www.lomasandlomas.co.uk/
Form Lifestyle Store
Back in the Northern Quarter again, and into Form which is housed in the sweetest building that feels so unexpected from where it is situated. It actually has a special heritage plaque outside on this row. It is the last surviving building of the one up one down type, built in 1787. Again, this is the creation of a visionary couple. I love the holistic and artisan feel of this shop. There are loads of plants around the place and the most beautiful wrought iron spiral staircase leading to a workshop area upstairs. It feels like a real treat visiting Form, like a special secret place, but one that I actually think you should all visit!
6 Bradley Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1EH and at https://form-shop.com/
What are the local independent shops where you live like?
Do you share my views on the future of our high streets? Let me know in the comments!