December 5th is Support Small Business Saturday and there’s no shortage of places in Manchester where you can do just that, says Dennis Keighron-Foster.
The holiday season is upon us. Christmas and Hanukkah are looming and Black Friday has been and gone. Have you bought all the presents you wanted or have you not bought anything at all because you’re tired of the commercialism of it all?
If the thought of trying to park at the Trafford Centre or fighting the queues on your lunch break at the Arndale is too much for you, or if the expensive, imported tat from abroad is just not floating your boat this year, then it might be time to go independent.
SWAG is a brand new pop-up shop located in – yes, you guessed it – the Northern Quarter. It’s a collective of carefully chosen craft folk spearheaded by jewellery designer Julia Roy-Williams of Wonderhaus Jewellery and illustrator Tasha Whittle.
Their aim – to give people a handcrafted, well priced and creative alternative to the mass production lines this Christmas.
“Wonderhaus is made to be worn boldly and courageously, as a statement of the wearer’s personality, independent, curious, well travelled and confident,” says Julia, and I think this ethos applies to the other creative contributors at SWAG. You can find anything from jewellery, to beautiful illustrations and artwork, clothes, homeware, lighting, funky printed clothing and my personal favourite – perfectly carpentered parquet desks and side tables, lovingly salvaged from the science floors of UMIST and rethought by Joel Rock in a fabulous Victorian and 50s Eames mash-up!
All the members have worked incredibly hard to renovate the old abandoned Den Furniture unit and together have created a beautiful, relaxed space that really shows off the design focused products.
“Sometimes the nature of handmade design is more difficult to appreciate when it is not placed in the right context. Hopefully, with our unique set-up and ability to represent so many different craft forms, visitors will enjoy discovering something new and they will favour buying from independents this Christmas,” says Julia.
To celebrate the official opening, SWAG will be hosting a special late night shopping launch event sponsored by Blackjack Brewery on Friday 4th December from 4pm till 8pm and will also be running a series of complimentary workshops in conjunction with Small Business Saturday on 5th December.
SWAG is more than just a shop. It’s an unfussy gallery full of unique works of art that can be worn or looked at and adored so get down there this Friday and support some local independents. I know where I’m getting my presents this Christmas.
42-44 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 6pm. Until 30th December.