I know times are tough just now and a lot of people are anxious and worried for their own livelihoods – myself included. But even in these uncertain times, it’s been heartening to see so many people ask how they can help support those around them.
I’ve seen a few of my favourite bloggers share really informative and practical posts, such as Cate St Hill’s tips for working from home, Abi Dare’s how to make the most of your leisure time at home and Tiffany from Curate & Display sharing her Lockdown Getdown playlist for boosting your mood.
Today I wanted to focus on a few ways in which you can still support your favourite local businesses just now, and in particular many of my favourites in Greater Manchester. Many have been working hard over the past week to adapt their ways of working and offer new products and flexible services in order to navigate these testing times as best they can.
If you have the means at the moment, I would urge you to consider shopping local and small where possible. The quickest and easiest way is by purchasing a digital gift voucher (for yourself or to gift to a friend) for redemption once this crisis has passed (and it will). Not only will you be making a small shopkeeper’s day and helping them keep their business afloat, but you’ll also have something nice to look forward to enjoying in the future.
But there are other ways to show support as well if parting with your money just now feels a little too scary. A like, a comment or a share on their social channels can help them know they’re not in this alone, and that people out there want them to survive this period of uncertainty as much as they do. consider signing up to their newsletters to stay up-to-date with the latest news and offerings, as many businesses will be pivoting over the coming months and will likely offer something of value to you during this time of isolation, including online book clubs, virtual coffee mornings, creative workbooks and much more!
We are the catalysts of social change at this time, and our voices, considerations and choices at this time will help set the course for the world in which we live tomorrow. I for one want to see small, local, creative business thrive when we emerge from our cocoon, so below you will find a round-up of independent Manchester brands and what they are currently offering their customers at this time. Of course, things will shift over the coming weeks as we navigate this ‘new normal’, but I’ll do my best to keep this list up-to-date and relevant. Also if you know any other Manchester (or North-West) based brands I should be highlighting here, just let me know in the comments!
Form Lifestyle Store
Form is an independent store in Manchester’s northern quarter stocking considered homewares and lifestyle goods from small independent makers that champion slow living, making them perfect for suffusing your home with calm and tranquillity at this time. The online store is still open for now, and they are offering gift vouchers online (valid for a year) and still posting out online orders, although these may take longer to get to you than usual.
Run by the lovely Rachael and her husband Alex, Object is a multi-concept brand based in Chorlton. Whilst the micro-event space and self-catering apartment are closed at this time, the online design store is still open and stocks a wonderful range of hand-sourced home and lifestyle goods that are perfect for injecting your home with vibrancy and personality. Rachael will be sending all orders out via a courier drop-off service located at her local food store, so she can pick up her essential supplies at the same time, and is offering free shipping on all UK orders. Postage service has been reduced to two weekly services on a Monday and Thursday, and will take approximately 3 working days from the date they are posted to arrive. Gift vouchers are also available to buy online and can include a handwritten note on request, should you want to send to a loved one.
Although West Didsbury lifestyle store Moth kept their doors open by appointment and offered a local door-step drop-off service this past week, they have now sadly closed both their physical and online store for the moment.
You can still follow them online though, and also sign up to their newsletter for the latest news as they may reopen online in time, as more pieces are added to their recently launched web shop.
Own-label jewellery brand Nordic Muse also stock an array of brand Nordic lifestyle goods in their Oxford Road store, as part of independent retail destination Hatch. While the physical store is now closed, the website is still open as normal, with the highest safety measures being taken in packaging and processing orders. They’ve enabled a live-chat function to help them mirror the same personal experience you would enjoy in-store, and are offering free shipping on all orders over £50.
Luxury ethical womenswear brand Beaumont Organic is designed in Manchester and stocked in their beautiful townhouse store at 49 Hilton Street. While the physical store has now closed its doors, the website is still live and orders being fulfilled under the watchful eye of Helen’s gorgeously fluffy ginger cat Wilson (see their IG stories for updates!). They have plenty of gorgeous ethical loungewear to get you through this isolation period in style, and you can sign up to their newsletter to get 10% off your first order. Or you might just like to purchase a digital gift voucher to spend later, or send to a friend who needs a pick-me-up.
Rose & Grey
While their Altrincham showroom is now closed and all staff and currently working from home, the Rose & Grey online store remains open and is fulfilling orders as normal. The mid-season up-to-50%-off sale is now on, with plenty of fabulous furniture and accessory bargains to be had to make your home as warm and cosy as possible during this self-isolation period. Gift vouchers are available online, whilst many furniture items can be purchased on 0% finance (use this service wisely though!).
I wrote about this gorgeous Manchester-based candle brand last week and can definitely attest to the power of Noa’s vegan candles and wax melts to transfuse calm and tranquillity throughout your home – much needed in times like these! the online store is fully sold out at the moment, but Natasha is busy making more product and the shop will be restocked on Sunday 5 April at 7pm. You can sign up to the newsletter now to be reminded when your favourite product or collection goes live, and all orders will now receive free UK shipping. With scents such as Anxious Mind (a bestseller!), Breathe, Chill Out and Garden of Eden – and a new, as yet unveiled, scent being launched – I’m certainly going to be first in the queue!
Alice Gwyneth Jewellery
Handmade in Manchester, Alice Gwyneth Jewellery pieces are handcrafted, eco and sustainable. All pieces are handmade by Alice and can take up to 3 weeks to be made and sent via Royal Mail, so please estimate around 4 weeks to receive your order. The wait is definitely worth it though, as the pieces are all meticulously handcrafted using eco and ethical materials and sent in recycled packaging. If ever there was a time to be more ethical and sustainable in your purchasing decisions, it is now! And if that wasn’t enough incentive, you can also currently get 15% off your order using the code ‘AG15’.
If you’re looking for contemporary woven textiles with simple designs and gorgeous colours to make your home feel that little bit cheerier just now, look no further than Anna-Lisa Smith’s beautiful collection. Since it’s just her making products her studio is still up and running, and she is currently offering free shipping and full refunds if you’re not entirely happy (you will be). She’s had a few collaborative projects cancelled or paused in the past few weeks, so now really is the time to support not only her with a purchase, but also the heritage mills of Lancashire and West Yorkshire she gets her high quality, vibrantly-hued wool from.
It’s a time when small brands all across the globe are making tough decisions, and for the health and safety of their community handcrafted timeless tools brand Ajoto have decided to suspend all shipments until further notice. They are still taking orders on their website though, for shipping at a later date (TBC) and are offering anyone who would still like to shop and support their small brand 20% off using the code ‘202020’. The team will still be busy working behind-the-scenes on new projects to launch as soon as possible, and will keep their online journal running to keep you fully informed and entertained during this time.
Simple and sustainable in design, Arctic Fox’s jewellery and accessory lines are inspired by all things Icelandic and Scandinavian. They’ve just released their first ever silver jewellery collection and their signature wool scarves are not just for when you venture outdoors – they’re also perfect for pulling round your shoulders as you snuggle down to watch a film in the evening too. If you sign up to their newsletter you will receive 10% off your first purchase, and there is also free UK shipping for all orders over £30. It’s also nice to know that 5% of their profits are donated to WWF to support their incredible work on limiting climate change, and conserving both our beautiful planet and her inhabitants.
Making mundane tasks that little bit more enjoyable, Attirecare’s eco-friendly garment, shoe & home care collections are made in the UK and are perfect for helping you out with those little household tasks you’ve probably been putting off until now. Since we’re stuck inside for the foreseeable, now is the time to treat your shoes to a complete clean and shine ready for their next outing, hand wash all those delicates that have been piling up, and properly launder your denim pieces. If you sign up to their newsletter you can get 10% off your first purchase, and they are currently offering free shipping on all UK orders.
Ara the Altar
Slow-made by Lauren in Manchester, Ara the Altar offers ‘earth-aware adornment for the everyday’, handcrafted in 100% recycled solid silver and gold. Inspired by astronomy, nature, and the ancient world’s fascinating relationship with both, every piece is made to order, which means it is business very much as usual for Lauren. Every piece of Ara adornment is accompanied by a natural linen and organic cotton pouch, designed and made in-house with minimal waste, using fabric woven in Lancashire. Lauren is currently offering free UK shipping using the code ‘SpringEquinox’ and if you subscribe to the newsletter, Letters of Ara, you can receive 10% off your first order.
All brand info & offers correct as of 24/03/20
All imagery via brand’s respective Instagram feeds