We’ve opened our new independent homeware shop on the edge of the Peak District

Independent homeware shop in Peak District, Homeward Studio

New shop!

We are thrilled to have opened the doors of our new premises on St Edward Street in the Staffordshire market town of Leek. 

I’ve been talking about being a shopkeeper for 20 years! Afterall, I do come from a family of shopkeepers. Dad had two shops, one a busy general grocers across the road from the high school when I was a pupil there, the other a smaller greengrocers, which was badly affected by the opening of a supermarket in the next town (yep, the erosion of independents and the high street has been happening for quite a long time!). Mum worked in retail too and so did her own mum, aunty and grandma.

See Great Grandma Cottrills clog shop picture below.

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I have fond memories of going to work with my Mum and opening up the shop that she worked in when I was little. K&N Fashions in Biddulph High Street in Stoke On Trent – I can almost smell it! Think 1970s fashion boutique, strip lighting, formica, and lots of nylon! The flicking on of lights, the tidying and straightening out of stock, hoovering, kettle on, friendly chats and life stories shared. Quite a romantic vision I know but I realise it’s these rhythms of shop life that I love.

Independent shop selling handmade goods

My new shop focuses on good quality, timeless, functional everyday items, alongside handmade small-batch one-off pieces. We have a beautiful range of handmade pottery, textiles and furniture, which add individuality, craftsmanship, interest and texture to our offerings.

We’ll be showcasing a growing range of new, handmade pieces from a community of British artists, craftspeople and makers, including ceramicists Emily Mitchell, Frances Savage, Nick Membery, Carla Murdoch and Lydia Hardwick, as well as textiles from The Flax Project, Clare Lewis’s The Weave House, Melin Tregwynt and Kate Jones Knitwear. 

Home at last

It feels so nice to settle somewhere at last! It feels like a long time since Homeward has had its own space since moving out of my studio in haste back in March 2020 with a very poorly Dad at the time and the pandemic snapping at my heels! I basically squatted and stored my things in a corner of Jake’s workshop for the next three years, while life continued to feel unsettled and sad. It was a challenging time with the added worry of being self-employed while the world paused, b..But keep going we did, receiving the most wonderful and generous support from all our fellow traders, suppliers and loyal customers. 

Then our selling space within Odeon Antiques came to an end in February this year with the sale of the building there. So with lots of things bubbling away and us looking at moving house, plus the need to find my own work space, it all became pretty urgent. When I knew this shop space was going to become available earlier this year, I knew it was a now or never moment! Madly, this coincided with a brilliant little house coming up, a wreck that needed major work here in a quieter, greener corner of Leek, so we took the plunge with all of it over Christmas and the New Year 2023 and here we are now! Madness. It’s not the easiest of times to be opening a small shop in a small market town on the edge of the Peak District, while times are tough for many and the price of everything remains high, but we are full of hope and enthusiasm and experienced enough to know that it will require hard work and patience!

It also feels like a period of personal upheaval has come to an end and I have what feels like the luxury of settling into this space to build my business – making connections, having the opportunity to meet my customers here, share ideas, offer decorating and upholstery advice and talk about my stock. Everything has a story and good provenance, a talented craft maker attached, making skills, materials and techniques involved.

Shopkeeper Nicky Hancock outside independent homeware shop in Peak District, Homeward Studio

Independent shopping in the Peak District

Since we opened in May, we’ve definitely felt the benefit of people focusing on their locality and spending with the smaller businesses and services on offer closer to home. We have had more visitors discovering the Peak District and coming to the area on holiday for the first time.

We love a well-loved and lived-in home, made up of inspiring creative spaces full of personal and found objects – a feather, a pebble, something gathered from a walk, or a memento from a special trip, mixed with collections by your favourite designer, potter or artist. Homes are places to pause, relax and enjoy and being surrounded by these things is ultimately good for the soul. This is Homeward Studio’s philosophy and we have built our collection with this way of living in mind.

Sustainability remains at the centre of our business

We restore and reuse vintage furniture and ensure the quality of each item – the materials that they are made from, their usefulness, beauty and longevity.

Our range is rich in thought and care. Choosing where you spend your hard-earned cash in these tricky and uncertain times and buying something with purpose and meaning may seem inconsequential, but  proactive daily micro-acts do matter. They shape our world and move us away from big, corporate money-making businesses, towards more positive, kinder, thoughtful communities and connections.

The shop also has a studio space and work room, where I hand paint furniture and work on the upholstery service. I help customers to revive vintage furniture, source artist-designed textile makers and work with a few select upholsterers.

Come and visit us in the new shop

We’re open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am – 5pm.

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