There’s nothing I love more than coming across a passionate small business. Creative, energising, bespoke, individual. My days of being a small-business owner may well be behind me but I know precisely the blood, sweat and tears that go into trying to make a success of an idea and it’s very hard. Spending many of my weekends working on market stalls in the past, I’d regularly hear people say “oh, isn’t it expensive” or “so-and-so could make that”. It was so dismissive and inconsiderate.
Now I’m blogging I feel very fortunate to be able to continue working with independent businesses and was recently invited to pay a little visit to not one, not two, but THREE of them all housed together in the same beautiful shop in Shoreditch, known as Idioma x Cuemars. A short walk from Old Street underground station or Shoreditch High Street overground station, the shop is very close to one of my favourite parts of London, Columbia Road flower market which we’ll be popping to on the last Sunday before Christmas and I’ll definitely be returning to Idioma x Cuemars along with Pete.
The triumvirate came about after three friends who had been trading at Brick Lane decided to get together and set up their own shop, each with space and opportunity to showcase their own designs, but with the added advantage that they all compliment each other so perfectly it’s like stumbling across a secret lifestyle shop that no-one else knows of.
It was Seth that I met at the shop, who runs ethical and organic multilingual fashion brand Idioma. He designs whilst the language inspiration comes from his mother who is a linguist. The brand was founded in 2011 with the aim of enhancing foreign language learning and cultural awareness through visually stimulating design and includes t-shirts, sweatshirts and beanies portraying the theme perfectly. My eye was caught by the Paper Planes sweatshirt, using the words Kami Hikoki to translate how we would say ‘paper plane’.
The other brand behind the shop namesake is Cuemars, combining a love of unique homewares with a passion for urban greenery. I love the movement towards making everyone aware that no matter how little space you may inhabit in a city like London, there is always enough room and a small enough plant which will work. The shop is awash with cacti and foliage and it just gives it such a magical air, as though you literally are walking into an urban jungle. Cuemars also design and make a range of individual homewares such as candle holders, vases and plant pots, produce prints and plan to run workshops in the future. The designs are simple but so effective and combine the beauty and starkness of living in a city.
Last but by no means least lighting the way for intrigued shoppers are vintage and industrial light specialists William & Watson. I’m a huge fan of the pared back designs which look elegant and stylish and their ethos is as though they used my words. For me, homes have soul. I talk to my house and it breaks my heart when I see buildings neglected. Why would anyone want to live in a place that they don’t care about? I’ll leave it up to William & Watson to say it best:
At William & Watson we think that homes once were built with honesty and integrity, since this way of decorating seems to evaporate in our modern world. We are proud to be part of an institution that can respect and honor the soul of that era.
I can’t emphasise enough how divine Idioma x Cuemars is and is so worth a visit. There’s no excuse either since they’re open every day and until 8pm during the week. With Christmas right around the corner, why not support the independents and buy gifts which are unique with a passionate story behind them?