Knives hand-forged in Kennington. Hot sauce brewed up in Peckham. Sparkling wine made in Bethnal Green (yes, really). Our city has an ever-expanding scene of unique independent craftspeople and makers churning out all kinds of amazing things. Things you should now consider purchasing. As jewellery designer Carole Mourier of Full Moon says, ‘London is a great place to be a maker: it’s so diverse, with inspiration everywhere: people, buildings, colours, shapes, textures, nature.’
When Lockdown 1 happened. London’s independent businesses were among the first to suffer: bars, restaurants, cafés, shops, salons and live venues. Some of them proved remarkably adaptable: bars bottling their cocktails and delivering them; restaurants turning their signature plates into DIY kits. At Time Out, we made a commitment early on to champion London’s local makers and independent businesses, big and small. Our Love Local campaign has become a global one, supporting the unique places we love in cities across the world. Here at home, we have helped the campaigns to save the Jazz Cafe, The Gun pub and Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. We got you to chip in to keep your favourite boozers going and tell us about the heroes round your way who were making life bearable.
Lockdown 2 will be different in lots of ways. Frostier, with more gravy and lots more adverts for nasty perfume. One thing is the same, though: our local businesses need your help to get them through this. So as we run up to… gulp… Christmas, we’ll be highlighting some of the London makers and shops who are genuinely doing something worthy of your cash. Okay, so you can’t go browsing in quaint Dickensian shops full of cheese right now, but luckily the internet has happened since the publication of ‘Our Mutual Friend’, so you can do it all at home.
‘It doesn’t matter how crazy or niche your idea is, London will welcome it,’ says Milena Mackowiak of Brixton florist Stems Wilder. ‘Independent makers are being tested this year. Shop small this Christmas.’
In that spirit, we’ll be highlighting independent shops and businesses. We also want to hear from you about your local makers and your crafty mates. Tell us about them at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll tell other Londoners. It really makes a difference: ‘It is essential that people support local and independent businesses,’ says Mourier. ‘They are the core of creative enterprises.’
You can find all our content on the hub below. Look out for chefs giving guided tours, in-the-know local guides and information on initiatives like the Mayor of London’s Pay It Forward scheme and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to discover how you can support our campaign into the new year.
So have a glass of East End fizz, shuck an oyster with a razor-sharp SE11 carving knife (careful, now), splash on that hot sauce and reflect on the creative brilliance of the city you live in. Then get online and get spending.
Time Out London