A Christmas guide for the Independents
Boy, I’ve left this late! Sometimes we can all get caught up with work, deadlines and generally not getting the ‘Christmas feels’ until the week before that we leave gift buying – or in my case gift guiding – until the last minute. This year I really wanted to champion the independents. The stores with a story and a passion for what they do and sell. Wherever possible, it’s always important to support your local stores throughout the year and perhaps visit them first during Christmas before heading onto the high street.
With a lot of help from my very talented friend and illustrator Robin Mackney, I’ve highlighted a few gifts from some of the coolest independents in the country. Don’t worry if you don’t live locally to any of them, I’ve made sure they have an online website.
Calling all stationery buffs, this one is definitely for you. With a permanent residence in Bristol and pop-up at Boxpark London, these guys know their fountains from their ballpoints. Pens, pencils, notebooks and more, you could easily spend a lot of time (and money) at Papersmiths. I’ve recently bought myself a new Horizon Japanese pen from the pop-up and I expect myself to be hoarding more ‘To me, from me’ gifts soon.
Form Lifestyle Store
Relatively new to Manchester, is Form Lifestyle store. I actually featured the store earlier this month, but the store is definitely worth another mention. First of all, if you live close-by, please go and visit for the staircase. If you’re a little too far away from MCR, then fear not, you’ll be able to fill up your virtual basket with plenty of green-fingered gifts for yourself and others.
Brighton is arguably the mecca of the independents and of them all, Workshop Living is one of my favourites. The team here have managed to source a great edit of items. SOH candles from Melbourne, Form&Thread essentials based in London and plenty of handmade tableware. If you can, I’d definitely visit this one in person, the store is so calming and a real joy to shop in. How retail should be.
A quick train journey away from my university town, The Hambledon in Winchester is a store I’m always recommending to friends when visiting. It’s three floors: menswear, homeware and womenswear (basement to first floor) that’s housed in what feels like a big house. They’ve always got a well stocked menswear section and as for their homeware, I commend anyone leaving empty handed, especially during Christmas.
Harriman & Co.
I wouldn’t be able to write a small guide to independents without mentioning my local store in Leicester. In the St. Martins area of the city, Harriman & Co. has been great in bringing quality-led brands to the area. I often go in to see what’s new in terms of small goods and grooming, but upstairs they house some great furniture and when I finally get my own place, I know where to head. I’ll be visiting before the 25th.