Indie Shopping

Here Are The Best Indie Shops Recommended by Ella Goodwin

Ella Goodwin Shares Her Favourite Indie Picks.

Today’s post is a unique pick of favourite indie businesses chosen by fabulous illustrator Ella Goodwin. 

With a background in animation and costume, Ella’s work has a unique storytelling element. Inspired by nature, the power of making, folklore and Japanese culture, oh and cats, a lot of cats! Above all travel is the biggest motivator and inspiration, recent travels to Japan and its magical contrasts have left a lasting impression, which will continue to inspire until she revisits next May.

As well as prints and cards Ella diversifies her illustration onto homewares, jewellery, accessories and stationery. The gorgeous collection is made under the name Miss Ella, because she loves to make her illustration wearable as well as heartwarming.

Let’s take a look at Ella’s favourite independent designers, makers and shops.


I’ve been a long time fan of Jimbobart and his eclectic ceramics. I really admire the way he started out; working out how he could diversify his illustration into pieces that would sell with an affordable outlay. He also had a fabulous illustration of a cat in a dress in his shop so I was in. His eclectic designs are now seen everywhere from Liberty’s to the Southbank. The touching humour is so beautiful and he never seems to run out of ideas. I particularly love the new plates with the surface design covering the entirety of the ceramics framing the characters perfectly.


Geninne’s style has really come into its own. I love the way that she is always experimenting with materials and techniques yet always retains a very clear and refined style all of her own. Her blog is a wonder to explore as she is so generous with demonstrating her working process from start to finish. Her enchanting watercolours are so delicate and she perfectly transfers her style onto home made rubber stamps and leather too. It’s this experimentation which makes her such an interesting independent maker and designer.

Katriona Chapman

As an avid comic and zine fan I came across illustrator, Katriona Chapman when I read a review of her handmade illustrated book ‘Five’. Her ethereal style was a really refreshing in a sea of generic trends. She has recently published part two of Katzine, which I guzzled up. Katzine is about Katriona’s daily life and thoughts and is funny, heart-warming and inspiring. I particularly liked Part 1 where she speaks about how scared she was to put out the zine in case she hated it in a years time, boy could I relate to that. She certainly has nothing to worry about, the illustration is beautifully rendered and the quality of the handmade books sets them off to a tee.

Glory Days – Hoppers Yard, Holt, Norfolk.

Holt is a beautiful little town in North Norfolk. There are a few sweet shops, galleries and cafes but when I walked into Glory Days I was in heaven. Glory Days is run by Ruth Norway who is certainly no minimalist. The shop is brimming with candy coloured kitsch everywhere you look. Paper birds hang from the ceilings, giant ice creams adorn the walls, 50’s cabinets are jam packed full of all manner of cute, kitsch wonderfulness. So far I have bought 2 bright pink heart shaped bicycle baskets, pink plastic sheep, strings of flowery lights and concertina paper birds. Yes, all essentials. If you like kitsch flowery fabulousness this is the shop for you!

Norwich Gift Emporium – 22 Lower Goat Lane, Norwich, NR2 1EL.

Having recently celebrated their first birthday Norwich Gift Emporium is a one of kind Aladdin’s cave of craft and design in the centre of Norwich’s beautiful Lanes.  Individual traders rent a small space, which is curated by the wonderful manager Charis. Give yourself time when you go in there as there is a lot to take in and you don’t want to miss a thing! There is an incredible range of goods from contemporary street artists, illustrators, painters and photographers selling prints and cards, nimble fingered crafters sell intricate crochet, amigurumi and fine knitwear, yet more creative artists make illustrated jewellery as well as high end silver and beaded pieces. I could go on but the in short this shop if fast becoming a real gem. It’s also nestled amongst some amazing eateries such as the wonderland style Biddy’s Tea Room and Moorish Falafel Bar *licks lips*.

Thank you Ella! 

& don’t forget to check out Ella’s stunning collection at the Ella Goodwin Illustration website.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 17/05/17

Here Are The Best Indie Shops Recommended by Sue Lee

Pennychoo’s Sue Lee Shares Her Favourite Indie Finds.

Via her cool, independent Pennychoo, Sue Lee designs greetings cards and stationery inspired the past.

Sue’s greeting cards can be found in a series of high profile stores including Waterstones, Scribbler, The Royal Festival Hall, Brighton Royal Pavillion and The Geffrye Museum. You can also find the vintage-inspired collection in small independent shops and galleries across the UK and Europe.

For this week’s ‘Indie Picks’ we asked Sue to share some of her favourite indie finds, both online and in the real world. The pick is a unique selection including some fab, retro finds.

Petersham Nurseries – Richmond, Surrey.

Petersham Nurseries

Petersham Nurseries started out as a garden centre, but now also includes an award wining café, restaurant and shop and it’s my refuge from the world when it all gets a bit too bonkers. Walking there involves either a quick chug across the river (£1 on the Ham Ferry), or a good 40 minute walk up the Thames to Richmond Bridge, then a very scenic lollop through the cows on Petersham Meadows. So it gives me an excuse to get in a bit of a hike too.

If you’re picturing a garden centre with bags of compost piled hight and big metal trolleys, think again. Waking into Petersham on a baking hot day is like entering a Spanish plaza with the delicate tinkling of fountains, the heady scent of fragrant flowers in the walled garden and the dozy droning of fat bumble bees, with the occasional chink of bone china tea cups.

The shops are set in old greenhouses all beautifully filled with hand blown glasses, antique chandeliers, one-eyed old rocking horses, extravagantly wrapped French soaps, sturdy scrubbing brushes, crates full of wonky Victorian flowers pots, delicate porcelain ceramics, old rustic French chairs and tables … all underneath swags of fairy lights in winter and cool green ferns in summer. It’s like the most perfectly styled Aladdin’s cave of treasures you’ve ever seen, and I always come away feeling calm, inspired and ever so slightly enchanted.

Saffron Sacks – London.

Saffron Sacks London

This is the brand of my friend, Suzanne Hall. She hand makes the most stunning and high quality handbags. The simplicity and visual impact of the her designs leaves me a bit open mouthed: each one is unique and a little work of art. I met Suzanne through our mutual love of the 1940s and ’50s and those influences are obvious when you look at her bags. The 1940s and 50s was a time when bags became very structured and incredibly imaginative – rigid boxes might be made from Lucite (clear, coloured, glittery, carved), wood, bamboo, brightly coloured plastic-coated wire, or wicker with extravagant embroidery, and although Suzanne eschews the more garish aspects, the fabulously glamorous shapes and strong, elegant silhouettes of the era are clearly evident in her work. Each one involves several days of work, so while they’re not cheap, you know you’re getting ‘a bag for life’!

Boomerang Vintage & Retro – Hednesford, Staffordshire.


Boomerang Vintage & Retro is an actual physical and online business selling (as the name suggests) vintage and retro furniture and homewares. I choose Boomerang because a) it’s run by two lovely, enthusiastic people, Lyndsey and Steve, b) they stock (and sell) a great range of quirky, kitsch and stylish stuff from the 1940s to the 1970s with oodles of enthusiasm, and c) because they’re based in Hednesford in Staffordshire, which is just up the road from where I originally hail from!

I really like the way they’ve decorated the shop and how they style the items – they  obviously have a great eye – and I love that they work so hard at what they do and with such humour and enthusiasm. I first met Lyndsey when she was a buyer at a gallery, and she approached me about stocking my cards in the gallery shop, so obviously, she has excellent taste … ((cough)) Starting a niche business in the current climate is a brave decision – I really hope they’re getting all the success they deserve.

Miss L Fire – London and Hollywood.

Miss L Fire

Unlike a lot of people who are into the vintage scene, I’m not especially mad about clothes or shoes – at 5’9″, I don’t even try to find vintage clothes that might fit, and when I’m out, I’ll be dressed down in jeans and dancefloor-friendly Bass loafers … Saying that, I’ve chosen Miss L Fire shoes as one of my favourite indies for the simple reason that I just love what they do.

Created by Derbyshire designer Lyndsey Hand, Miss L Fires shoes have always been characterised not just by a love of the 1940s and ’50s, but by the sheer (occasionally quite bonkers) level of creativity of the designs: these are vintage-inspired shoes on mind-altering drugs… I can happily waste time just browsing through the designs, and while I don’t necessarily love all of them, I find all of them visually interesting which is a sign of great design. Lots of companies make reproduction shoes – Miss L Fire actively interprets the past to make something new and exciting, and that’s what I try to do with Pennychoo.

Old Town – Holt, Norfolk.

Pic by Scott Wishart for Old Town 1

“With regard to the design the aim is for simplicity and restraint with minimal styling, letting the construction influence the look. References are made to costume of the past but the intention is for contemporary relevance.”

There – that explains it better than I could.

Old Town make timeless clothing, furnishing fabrics and wallpapers. The whole look and feel of the brand is mildly eccentric and very British, without straying into the bumbling silliness of PG Wodehouse… I love everything about the website, from the bravely simple black and white (almost diagrammatic) illustrations of the clothes, to the item names (the Beryl jacket, the Bungalow dress, Stove Pipe trousers) and the slightly bleached out, austere style of photography. Everything about Old Town is sure-footed, authentic and practical. I for one love everything about it.

Herb Lester Associates – London.


“Most guides try to tell you everything there is to know about a city, we just tell you how to enjoy it. It is our aim to show the reader what makes a place distinctive, to shed light on obscure locations as well as revisiting well-known ones with a fresh perspective.”

Herb Lester publish maps, but not as you know them. These are beautifully illustrated, wonderfully designed, usually retro-styled objects that you simply want to own. They also do city guides –  so for London, for example, you might choose ‘ Clandestine London’, ‘Specialist Shops And Suppliers’ or ‘Writing London’. In LA, you could choose ‘The Raymond Chandler Map Of Los Angeles’ or ‘How To Find Old LA’. It’s no wonder that with their gorgeous retro illustrations, Herb Lester products appeal to discerning lovers of vintage and good design.

Dead Men’s Spex – Norfolk, England.

Dead Mens Spex

Run by another friend of mine, Darren has been running the fantastically named Dead Men’s Spex since long before the whole retro revival, buying up, cleaning and re-glazing old spectacle frames for those who like some retro furniture on their faces. While lots of companies have followed suit to cater to the growing appetite for vintage specs, Darren was one of the first and rather than just selling the frames, he’s an optician too so he provides a fantastic, comprehensive and very personal service. You can choose frames by gender, style or period, and he’s been making Mr Choo look rather stylish for several years now, and for this reason alone, he remains one of my favourite indies.

Thank you for the recommendations Sue Lee!

& don’t forget to check out Pennychoo in the Piccadilly Lane guide.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 18/02/17

Here Are The Best Indie Shops Recommended by Valerie Carr

Valerie Valerie’s Valerie Carr Shares Her Favourite Independents.

Valerie Carr is the designer behind Valerie Valerie, creating wonderful cards, gifts and homewares from original watercolour designs. Valerie’s unique design style sets her collection apart from the ordinary and so we knew her eye for quality and great design would result in some great indie picks.

We asked Valerie to share her favourite independent shops, both online and in the real world.

The Dybdahl Company

Henrik Dybdahl is a heritage adventurer. He has a passion for print and produces truly original images that make you smile. Henrik is a personal friend and his Danish outlook on life is always positive and sociable, as is the Danish way, and his quirky sense of humour is apparent in his products. Lovely man with a lovely company!


I visited Loop in Camden Passage, Islington last Summer. It’s a beautifully adorned shop with the sales area downstairs with yarns, books and haberdashery, and then a ‘working’ space upstairs. They offer products and helpful ideas, and the colourful way they present things is really charming. It’s such a homely shop, I had difficulty leaving.

The Shoe Embassy

I love this company. Their shoes are really well made, well priced, especially for such good quality and design. I love the presentation on the website, especially the moving bits!

Food for Thought

This vegetarian restaurant is in a basement in the heart of Covent Garden. It’s my favourite veggie restaurant because the food is so, so tasty! They serve no fuss but incredibly flavoursome vegetarian dishes. You have to queue and the queue usually goes up the stairs and quite a way along the street.  I have eaten there lots of times. I loathe queues but this one is always worth the wait. They sell a great cook book too available on the premises and online.

Duke of Uke

They have a passion for UKE! Fantastic atmosphere and keeping music vibrant, they sell Ukeleles and also offer lessons. I like the style of the website too, lots of fun.


Imprint design, make and sell a lovely range of products. They are mostly paper products using eco-friendly, 100% vegetable oil-based inks plus ceramic mugs.  Founded by three creative people, a painter, a textile artist and ceramicist, this company produce some beautiful work, presented in a clean, crisp website.

Shine Ink

Shine Ink design gorgeous metallic temporary tattoos. I’m not a fan of tattoos but these are beautiful and especially as they are temporary. The photography is stunning. Great idea, great product and good looking website.

Thank you Valerie Carr!

& don’t forget to check out the gorgeous indie that is Valerie Valerie. You can start right here with the Valerie Valerie showcase in the Piccadilly Lane directory.


Posted by Charlotte 8:00 8/02/17

Here Are The Best Indie Shops Recommended by Which Glasses Are Which?

Hilly Beavan Founder of ‘Which Glasses Are Which?’ Shares Her Favourite Indie Finds.

For our latest ‘Indie Picks’ collection we asked Hilly Beavan, founder of Which Glasses Are Which? to share her favourite indie stores and websites.

A designer by profession and amateur viola player for fun, Hilly’s job and downtime relies on her wearing glasses. The result? Several pairs of specs and lots of confusion. A problem that Hilly soon solved with the idea of stylish glasses cases designed to identify “which glasses were which?”.

Starting with cases that solved her own glasses mix (reading, music and driving), Hilly has since expanded the range to include sewing & knitting, cinema & TV and gardeners’ glasses cases.

With unique, themed prints, the glasses cases are a handy and stylish gift that easily identifies specs for glasses wearers everywhere.

As the founder of her own indie business and an entrepreneur that successfully spotted (and filled) a gap in the market we think Hilly is the perfect person to recommend some indie shops.

So, without further ado let’s hand over to Hilly.

My picks are quite an eclectic mix! But I have been a repeat customer at all these companies. Each are exceptional for quality of product knowledge and customer-focused service.

Greenhouse Sensation

Despite the somewhat sensational name (which actually put me off as I assumed it was imported stuff) this is the most fantastic, customer focused company which designs and manufactures useful accessories to help you grow veg. I bought the Click & Drip watering system which took me less than an hour to set up and watered my tomatoes all summer, including while I was away. Very helpful staff. Made in Britain.

Beautiful Baker’s Twine

I love this twine for gift-wrapping – looks fab with a plain kraft or metallic wrap, and doesn’t get squashed in the post! James Lever have been making Baker’s Twine in Bolton, Lancs since 1856, and there’s a huge range of colours and weights to choose from.

The Tile Shop ~ 4/6 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London NW10 3JD.

We’ve just completed a major renovation on a house, and are proud to say that nearly everything came from independents – windows, kitchen appliances, kitchen and bathroom fittings, fitted wardrobes, flooring. The Tile Shop was a great example of why! We’d visited a well known chain where the staff barely knew where anything was, but the man in the Tile Shop steered us through a potentially overwhelming selection, paring our choice down to meet our needs. As well as kitchen and bathroom tiles we bought a Victorian tiled path, confident that his expertise would point us in the right direction. Despite the website I think they are shop based only – but I encourage you to find a similar local company if you are not in London.

Cosmetics a la Carte ~ 19b Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8LB.

I’ve been buying CALC cosmetics for years – but not quite as long as they’ve been making them! Started in London in 1973 and still made there, the range is cruelty free, vegetarian and natural. Once colour matched you get your own foundation recipe which they keep for reorders. They have a shop in Motcomb Street SW1 where they also offer makeup lessons. Fantastic, personal service.

Wildebeest Cafe, Falmouth  ~ 13 Arwenack St, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 3JD.

Absolutely delicious fresh natural food that’s all vegan, but you wouldn’t specially know! They aim to appeal to everyone. It is clearly very popular and rightly so, and well worth a visit if you’re in Falmouth (which is well worth a visit anyway!).

Pedlars Place ~ West End Lane, Warfield, Berkshire RG42 5RH.

A complete treasure trove of vintage furniture and bits and pieces with ever-changing stock. It’s a big old barn down a country lane – not a posh showroom by any means, but always rewarding to rummage around. We’ve bought a classic farmhouse dresser, a postwar utility chest of drawers, small winged chair etc – I don’t think we’ve ever come away empty handed. Dangerous!

The String Zone ~ 192 High Street, Egham, TW20 9ED.

Once again it’s expertise and customer service that sets this music supplies shop apart. I first met Andrew Riley – the owner – when he repaired a viola for me, and since then I have bought everything from strings to cases and a carbon fibre bow, and he has valued and repaired various instruments for the family. I buy online or from his shop in Egham, Surrey.

Twelve Nunns

Run by Penny Dawson, the daughter of the original growers of Harvington Hellebores which include the beautiful Harvington Doubles. I have bought the Double Lilac Hellebore for myself and as a gift – had to wait til they had grown some, not off the shelf, but well worth it. Web sales only.

Chapmans Shoes ~ 20 Harris Arcade, Reading RG1 1DN.

Family run, tiny shop in an arcade opposite Reading Station, specialising in wide fitting shoes (and shoes which take orthotics) for people who don’t want to be doomed to trainers. Fab, funky little lace-ups which Mr King has sourced and imported were the perfect antidote to my gloom at having to chuck away all my normal shoes after being diagnosed with a tendon problem. He takes time to fit properly, and remembers what I like and which lasts (the foot-shaped block that the shoe is made on) fit me. I rarely leave without at least one pair, often two.

Wordplay Design

Witty and original range of cards and posters with a distinctive typographic style by designer Rebecca Wright. Something for every occasion. I particularly like “All you need is love…. and good wifi” and the autocorrect range “Dad, you’re simply the pest” and the Christmas greeting “ ‘tis the season to be jelly”!

Thank You Hilly!

& don’t forget to check out Hilly’s own fab indie. Visit the Which Glasses Are Which? website now.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 3/01/17

3 Fantastic Reasons to Support Small Business Saturday

Why We’re Supporting Small Business Saturday & Why You Should Too.

Along with the upcoming festivities, there’s another special occasion just around the corner, Small Business Saturday. Here at Piccadilly Lane we’re very proud to help spread the word and support the cause.

Piccadilly Lane was launched with the aim to showcase the very best independent businesses in the greeting card and gift world, so we’re naturally very fond of any initiative that is in line with our mission.

Small Business Saturday operates on 2 consecutive Saturday’s here in the UK and across the pond in the United States. The USA is first with its #ShopSmall initiative falling on Saturday 26th November. This is followed on the Saturday 3rd December by the UK-based events.

As we’ve recently added our first USA-based indie, Night Owl Paper Goods, to the Piccadilly Lane directory, we’ll be supporting both events and sharing our favourite indies both here in the UK and stateside.

Why It’s Important to Support Small Business Saturday Wherever You Are.

1. From Little Acorns.

In small businesses you’ll find the designers, makers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. You’ll get a unique opportunity to see and support a business at the start of its journey. Quite simply you’re helping to support someone’s dreams. Small businesses start from the vision of a few; an entrepreneur that wants to share their products, skills or knowledge; a family passionate about an industry or craft. By supporting small business we help those individuals to grow a business they love and add a valuable service to their community.

2. Variety is the Spice of Life.

To be completely honest there are plenty of big, established businesses that we love. We all have our high street and online favourites but, and it’s a big but … we don’t want those shops to be the only ones to succeed. We don’t want big shops to be our only option. We like variety! We want to find the small gems, the quirky little boutiques that can offer us something different, something unique. On every high street across the land we want to be able to explore a unique selection of small businesses bringing us variety. How boring would the world be if it was just the same big shops repeating again and again! In the online world we want the same eclectic mix and it’s this varied mix of online boutiques that we want to discover and unite right here on Piccadilly Lane.

3. The Personal Touch.

We may very well be biased but we happen to think that small businesses go that extra mile for their customers. They’ve invested heart and soul in what they do and this gives a fantastic personal touch that you don’t get with bigger chains.

Indies online and those showcased in the Piccadilly Lane directory are dedicated to providing the best products and the best service to you and we know they’re not alone, small businesses in the UK & worldwide excel in the personal touch and delivering the best.

These 3 reasons might be simple and straightforward, but we hope you’ll agree they are very good reasons to support independent businesses and shop small, not just today but always. Shop from independents now!

Small Business Saturday Dates for Your Diary.

Small Business Saturday USA – 26th November 2016.

Small Business Saturday UK – 3rd December 2016.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 25/11/16
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