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london makers
Photograph: Andy Parsons

London makers: local businesses making beautiful things in the city

Shopping locally is easier than you think

Isabelle Aron
Written by
Isabelle Aron
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From gin made in Ealing to bean-to-bar chocolate crafted in Bermondsey, creative Londoners are making wonderful things all over the city. Whether you’re looking for gifts, original homeware, or artisanal produce to stock up your kitchen cupboards, you’d be surprised what you can find if you’re keen to shop locally. Give big businesses a swerve and support these local gems instead.

DabbaDrop
Photograph: Ben Rowe

DabbaDrop

Eco takeaway DabbaDrop serves up ace vegan curries without plastic packaging. Not in the delivery zone? You can now perk up your meals with its newly launched condiments, including a fiery ginger jam and a gunpowder spice mix. £24 for a set of four condiments

Tucked away in a Peckham industrial unit, you’ll find Kanpai: the UK’s first sake brewery. Using traditional Japanese methods to make rice wine, it creates special-edition bottles as well as cans of pre-mixed ‘session sake’. 

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Fallow
Photograph: Gobinder Jhitta

Fallow

Will Murray and Jack Croft opened their restaurant Fallow just before Lockdown 1.0. To use up all the garlic and chillies languishing in their store cupboard, they created a sriracha. Fermented over months, it’ll liven up any sad meal. £7.

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 Tatty Devine X Morag Myerscough
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Tatty Devine X Morag Myerscough

You can’t get much more statement than this collab creation by east London jewellery designer Tatty Devine and artist Morag Myerscough. Made from birch plywood and hand-painted, the Eye See necklace is pretty hard to miss. £110. 

Proving that stained glass isn’t just for church windows, Dee Monti specialises in handmade creations based on her sketches that celebrate the female form. Want a Monti original? Be quick: the bi-monthly drops sell out swiftly. Prices vary. Available on Instagram @montibymonti

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Krush Puppies
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Krush Puppies

Black-owned and based in east London, Krush Puppies was a lockdown project that gained major momentum. It makes icy alcoholic bevs with flavours like Magnumade (tonic wine and lemonade) and Prosychee (prosecco and lychee). From £6.

Created during lockdown, Kold Sauce is London’s answer to the classic American hot sauce. Co-founder Drew Wolf wanted to recreate the condiment he grew up with in the US, but using natural ingredients and fermentation. From £6.99 for a bottle.  

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Jim Read makde his first jar of raw unpasteurised kimchi in Harringay  back in 2016. Now his Kim Kong Kimchi is beloved by sandwich lord Max Halley. Unlike the traditional dish, it's not made using fish, meaning it's vegan as well as being full of probiotics.

Wine making doesn't just happen in balmy French vinyards, and Renegade Urban Winery is proof of that. It makes vino right here in London, ranging from a chardonnay using Essex -grown grapes to its Bethnal Bubbles 2.1 (pictured), a hopped sparkling wine.

Bethnal Bubbles (£27) available for same-day delivery here.

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Magali Bellego has always liked the aesthetics of natural wine labels. In Lockdown One, she launched Wax/Wine – soy-wax candles in funky wine bottles that she collects from east London bars and restaurants. Sustainable and chic. Available on Etsy or at The White Building Market at Crate Brewery. £24.

Artisan beekeepers Ian and Clare Nichols make seasonal small-batch honey in Leytonstone. The other ‘makers’ behind Epping Good Honey are their bees, which forage in Epping Forest (duh!). They sell spring, summer and autumn varieties. Sweet!

 

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Can you guess which green space inspired The Heath Distillery? (It’s Hampstead Heath, okay?). Based in Highgate, the distillery makes gin from ingredients you’d find on the heath, including dandelion, rose and sorrel. The Heath Superior London Dry Gin is £38. 

Launched in Lockdown 1 by Elephant and Castle-based Ricki Lawal, Selfmade Candle produces hand-poured candles with eco credentials. The labels are ‘seeded’, so you can plant them in the jar when the candle’s done burning. From £24

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Soap in a can? You betcha. East London-based KanKan makes chic toiletries with eco-packaging, including cans and refillable ‘forever bottles’. This month, snap up its limited-edition collaboration with London designer Supermundane. The Super Starter, £36. 

Struggling to make sense of this year? East London-based illustrator Jenni Sparks’s My First Pandemic zine might help. It’s filled with witty illustrations from her quarantine diary and it comes with a free ‘2020 Can Fuck Off’ sticker. My First Pandemic zine. £8. 

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Inspired by NYC’s breweries and bodegas while living there, Londoner Sammi Marwan started making hot sauce using hops. Back in London, he launched Hop’t from a Kilburn kitchen where he makes it in small batches. From £4.99.

In 2015, Amarachi Clarke taught herself to make chocolate in her north London flat. Now, Lucocoa Chocolate produces bean-to-bar creations in its Bermondsey factory, including this solid 125g brick made of 70 percent dark chocolate. Lucocoa x Bricksixty solid London brick. £12.50.

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Making spirits started as a passion project for brothers Rob and Jim. Now, Asterley Bros is a fulltime business which sees them make English vermouth and amaro in a workshop in Forest Hill. You can sample the fruits of their labour in their newly launched cocktail pouches. Cocktail pouches from £23.95.

When Natalie Manima founded homeware brand Bespoke Binny, she was inspired by the West African cloth that featured in her home growing up. She makes cushions, blankets and these oven mitts, which will look great in your kitchen even if you can’t (or won’t) cook. African fabric oven mitts. £24.99. 

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There are no prizes for guessing where Ealing Gin is made. It’s created with 11 botanicals (including mint and rose) and the bottle’s art deco design is inspired by Ealing’s Hoover Building. Plus, 20 percent of the profits go to charities tackling loneliness in the city. £44.50.

Is the city’s pollution messing with your skin? Almost definitely. Enter east London-based Neighbourhood Botanicals, which creates natural skincare with cool packaging. Try The Daily Glow facial oil or Face Off cleanser to help you combat the smog. From £27.

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Ever noticed how many pit bulls there are in Peckham? That was the inspiration behind New Cross collective Garudio Studiage’s Dogs of London tea towel. On it, you’ll find Hackney, Islington, Richmond and more represented through pooches. That’s one way to liven up doing the dishes. £10.

If you’ve ever looked at the floor of a tube carriage and thought: Wow, my best china would look amazing on that, you’re in luck. East London-based designers Loris & Livia have used the speckled flooring of Victoria and Piccadilly line trains as inspiration for these surprisingly stylish rubber coasters. £8.50.

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Necking espressos might not be great for anxiety, but spent coffee grounds can do great things for your skin. That’s the thinking behind MontaMonta’s Sage + Coffee Body Scrub. The east London-based company collects used grounds from local cafés to make this luxe scrub that’s good for you and the planet. £17 for 200g.  

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