A Directory of Small Businesses

Now this is going to be a collective post and so I’m going to need you all to chip in in the comments and if you come to this later on make sure you read the comments too. With the news of a second lockdown and the plight of small businesses once again pushed to the fore, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of them so that if/when you do your Christmas shopping, or even general shopping we can focus on the small sites and stores and hopefully bring them through this second lockdown with us. You in?

image by illustrator Gail Myerscough
image by illustrator Gail Myerscough

I came up with the idea yesterday when I read this piece in The Guardian about a new online bookstore that is pitching itself as a socially conscious alternative to Amazon: “Bookshop was dreamed up by the writer and co-founder of Literary Hub, Andy Hunter. It allows independent bookshops to create their own virtual shopfront on the site, with the stores receiving the full profit margin – 30 per cent of the cover price – from each sale. All customer service and shipping are handled by Bookshop and its distributor partners, with titles offered at a small discount and delivered within two to three days.”

This is in addition to Hive, where you buy a book online and choose which bookshop (perhaps local to you) that you want to receive a percentage of your money. So that’s the books, which, as we all know, make brilliant presents at any time of year and, I might point out, while the bookstores get 30 per cent of the cover price, the author gets a bit too – around £1 a book when the book is sold at full price – so another good reason to buy books.

So onto other things. At this stage I think we are in no particular order as, as usual, I’m writing this less than 24 hours before I publish so there might not be time to make it pretty but I’ll do what I can. It’s loosely alphabetical and even more loosely into a few umbrella categories but if you have time scroll through the full post as I’m sure you will find new places. There are some black-owned businesses and, where, it might be relevant I have mentioned locations for bricks and mortar stores. Obviously, this is but a drop in the ocean but it’s a start. And every time I log out I think of another.


vintage plates by alijoedesigns
vintage plates by alijoedesigns

Alijoe Designs, who I have supported for many years and whose work I have bought. Debbie makes gorgeous upcycled plates and send you a set of velcro strips so you can hang it on the wall too. And, as I have said before, a round item is a perfect contrast to a gallery wall full of rectangles.

Art & Hue is not just stylish pop art prints and cards but also is the designer of this very blog. So he deserves your support for that alone. From series celebrating The Avengers to Architecture via Americana there is truly something for everyone. And you can even order a bespoke print of your pet or your house.

Diane Hill paints the most gorgeous chinoiserie-inspired pictures has also created phone cases (good presents those) and you can buy prints from £45 as well as original pieces. If you loved the De Gouray post from the other day and can’t run to the actual wallpaper, this is a good place to come.

Gail Myerscough, whose illustration is at the top of this post, makes Christmas cards, cushion covers and artwork including mugs.

image by illustrator Gail Myerscough
image by illustrator Gail Myerscough

Vinegar and Brown Paper etches witty sayings onto bottles and jars. I bought the Extract of Genius jar for the 19yo when he was doing his GCSEs and I love these refillable (and therefore sustainable) amber glass bottles.

refillable glass bottles from vinegar and brown paper
refillable glass bottles from vinegar and brown paper


Aerende sells “life-affirming homewares” made by people facing social challenges so there are beautiful linen stitched by refugee women in Essex, wooden chopping boards carved by young men with learning difficulties and eco-friendly soap and candles. It’s non-profit and the stuff is beautiful.

Akojo Market is a platform championing independent ethical (mostly female) designers from across Africa, in the homeware, clothing, accessories and beauty space. Designers and brands are vetted to ensure they meet high standards when it comes to human rights and environmental practices. There is lots of fashion and beauty as well as homewares ranging from baskets and placemats to coasters, tea towels and throws. And these are tea towels you might want to frame and hang on the wall.

Bespoke Binny, designs, makes and sells African-inspired homewares from oven gloves and aprons to bedding and blankets. Although may I tactfully suggest if you are giving someone oven gloves for Christmas you included a voucher to their favourite restaurant for post lockdown.

Craft Editions launched in 2017 to celebrate and promote craft. Founder Brian Waring travels extensively throughout Ireland, South Africa and the UK , meeting master craftspeople and selling their wares. Usually they would sell through Christmas markets but as those have all been closed this year it’s all about online. Look out for hand embroidered napkins created by the team at Mogalekawena Craft Art Development Foundation. The foundation specialises in the rediscovery of local craft skills such as beadwork and candlemaking and supports the makers through computer literacy schemes etc.

Dar Leone is a London-based design studio founded by Sierra Leonean-American, Isatu Funna whose upbringing and memories have inspired this a globally-inspired range of jewellery, textiles, wallpaper, cushions and objects including ancient Nomoli figures carved in soapstone and found in Sierra Leone, to the romarang pots and mugs using the traditional geometric and lozenge designs seen all over West Africa.

handcarved by Sophie Sellu of Grain and Knot
handcarved by Sophie Sellu of Grain and Knot

Florence Broadhurst began as a place selling beautiful lamps with shades in the Australian designer’s signature graphic prints and has now expanded into rugs, cushions and stools. If you love her prints you will love this.

Grain and Knot is run by Sophie Sellu who carves vases, brushes, spoons and other gorgeous pieces by hand. The next drop is 8 November and as she works alone you need to visit then and place your order. Her work makes beautiful and thoughtful presents.

Hammade by Jo Robinson is a long time favourite with her gorgeous rabbit designs on mugs, prints and tea towels.

House of Flora, sells a range of household goods, gifts, furniture and accessories run by Sonal, a trained interior designer (and early sign up to the Design for Diversity Pledge. It’s a lovely place for a browse.

Inside Store has everything from lighting and furniture to accessories and candles and it’s all impeccably curated.

Lucy Tiffney, formerly of The Great Interior Design Challenge, is going to from strength to strength with her painting and her shop now includes, rugs, wallpaper, facemasks, rugs and cushions. And a pretty facemask might be the new mug when it comes to Christmas presents this year.

lucy tiffney secret garden throw
lucy tiffney secret garden throw

Objects of Use calls itself a modern day hardware store (in Oxford) and it’s the stuff of cleaning fantasies. If you have to clean or cook or work and aren’t keen on any of the above, then this might just make it all a little more exciting. Fabulous notebooks, luxurious feather dusters and dust brushes alongside wooden towel racks and big blocks of Marseille soap will soon have you in the mood. Or at the very least you can photograph them for instagram.

Osime Home sells colourful African-inspired cushions, masks and storage pots via her Etsy shop.

Polkra make gorgeous candles (see below) and also sell cushions, tea towels, rugs and fabulous matches. Buy someone a mug and a box of fabulous tea or a candle and some matches. You know the drill. Throw in a book and a throw (start the budget small and build) and you are creating the most fabulous, personalised gift that you can alter to suit each recipient.

candle from polkra
candle from polkra, tall hand from home barn, wooden hand from the old potato store, brass paperweight from bert frank

Prints and Press is based in Manchester but also sells online, and has a range of mid-century inspired placemats, coasters, cushions and teatowels.

Print Sisters Archive has a range of archive fabric and wallpaper prints dating from the 1800s  that have been reworked and revived into limited editions of 50 each. A great way to buy something affordable and original for your walls.

midmight blooms archive print from 1911 from printsisters
midmight blooms archive print from 1911 from print sisters archive 

Reste is based in Hastings and sells artisanal and handcrafted products from around the world using traditional methods and materials. Look for dried flowers, tableware, candles and stationery.

pepin brass mirrors from rowen and wren
pepin brass mirrors from rowen and wren

Rowen and Wren is an old favourite of mine selling everything from tables and chairs to handmade candle holders and handmade pasta bowls. If you’re buying for a teenager then a pretty mirror and a great lipstick makes a lovely present.

Tinsmiths, in Ledbury, is a feast for the eyes both online and in real life. There’s a huge amount of fabric but look out also for hardware, rugs and cushions as well as the most lustworthy collection of ceramics. Just look at this plate.

WA Green, Zoe was forced to move her bricks and mortar shop online at the start of the last lockdown and stocks a really. fun and colourful collection of homewares, including a Tiger King Christmas tree bauble and lots of glassware, candles and accessories.


Abigail Edwards makes handpainted wallpapers, fabrics and cushions inspired by natural and fairy tales.

Anna Hayman makes wallpaper, cushions and lampshades in her own incredibly rich and detailed designs.

anna hayman light
anna hayman light

The Curious Department have a gorgeous, and richly designed, collection of wallpaper, fabric and cushions.

Divine Savages (such a good name) also make fabrics, wallpapers and cushions and have recently added carpets to their collection.

Elizabeth Ockford is another wallpaper designer whose designs range from delicate floral to whimsical (lobsters) and bold geometrics.

Fenwick & Tilbrook, family-run paint firm based in Norfolk. Paint is all made to order fresh to minimise waste and delivered the next day. Names include hares tail, heavy sky and daybreak. Fans of Greg Penn, aka @manwithahammer can see their paint all over the walls of his massive renovation.

Floor Story make stunning rugs and one day I will have one.

Lorna Syson also makes wallpaper with native bird prints and floral designs based on her childhood in Warwickshire and Cornish holidays.

Maven, is based in Northern Ireland and run by sisters Catherine and Patricia McGinnis who sell a mix of Scandinavian and Irish products by brands including Hay, Menu and Ferm Living as well as Mourne Textiles and Øxmantown skincare.

Pinch Design makes high-end beautifully crafted future heirloom pieces. I love it all.

Re-found Objects is an old favourite selling everything from lights made from old jelly moulds and colanders to old absinthe advertising carafes.

vintage absinthe carafes from re-found objects
vintage absinthe carafes from re-found objects

Rose and Grey sells everything from furniture to small accessories and gifts and it’s all beautifully photographed so it’s a happy place for a browse.

SundayandStory sells gorgeous Moroccan rugs ( I bought one) in all shapes, colours, sizes and vintages. Definitely a good place to start a hunt for a rug.

Trouva is a great place to look for small businesses. A online portal that gathers hundreds of independent and small stores from all around the UK into one place on the proviso that they have bricks and mortar premises. It’s a huge site but every time you shop you are helping a real life small business.

Check out The  Modern Vintage Collective a group of small businesses selling 20th century, mid-century and modernist pieces.

I have written about good vintage stores before so do look at those posts (all of which have links) if that is your shopping preference.

Woven Rosa sell the most gorgeous rugs and soft furnishings sourced from all around the world (working with skilled artisans and paying fair prices) and have also written post on 43 of their favourite independent stores here.

Deborah rug from woven rosa
Deborah Frazada rug from woven rosa


houseof was set up by two former high street lighting experts and their products are simple and graphic and come in a range of seasonal colours at really good price points.

lovefrankie began with lampshades and has now branched out into homewares. There is a shop in Totnes, Devon and a huge range of colourful shades that will revamp any room quickly and easily. Lampshades are often overlooked in favour of cushions when it comes to a seasonal refresh but they’re a good place to start.

Matchi matchi make customisable lights so you can be confident of getting something nearly original. The idea is that you can adapt and customise and change with your decor as often or as rarely as you want.

matchi matchi concept lighting

Original BTC has often featured on these pages before but if you want classic British-made pared back designs that will last for ever you won’t go wrong here. Look out for the bone china shades which cast a particularly beautiful glow. Great desk lamps too.

Pooky Lights are another brand that will be familiar to many of you. Founded by Rohan Blacker, formerly of, Pooky sells fun and colourful lamps for every room in the house. I particularly love the resin bases and they have recently expanded their bathroom range to include lots of pretty shades and colours that wouldn’t look out of place in the sitting room.

Tom Raffield is at the luxury end of the market but his steambent lights (I bought one in a seconds sale)are almost works of art and this is exactly the sort of craftsmanship and technique that mustn’t be allowed to go out of business.

Loer pendant by Tom Raffield

Make sure to add your own recommendations in the comments below and let’s build this into a really diverse, useful and beautiful selection of places to shop. And then let’s do the shopping.


Tags : directory of small businessessmall businesses
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Can I add a shout out for a fabulous discovery called Maud Interiors. If you like chic and classy (amazing hand woven blankets and throws) they’ve got it, if you like colour pops bright and bold (gorgeous, opulent textiles and cushions) they’ve got it. It is my go to place for gift giving: recent purchases for Big birthdays of beautiful Tamegroute bowls from a cooperative pottery in Morocco. Discerningly sourced objects that distinguish it from the usual been there bought that. Highly recommend you check it out.

  2. Such a lovely thing to do Kate. I run a collective of wonderful designer makers in North London – Muswell Hill Creatives. We have gorgeous glassware by Samantha Sweet; Japanese textiles by Romor Designs; handmade candles by Jenny at Crouch End Candles; knitwear by Tracey at Lord and Taft; ceramics by Jeremy at Ceramic Justice; quilts & textiles by Sue Copeland; handmade papershades by Ros; organic skincare by JC at Queenie Organics; woven textiles by Cecilia at By Cecil; jewellery by Michele at Wyckoff Smith Jewellery; and leather bags & accessories by Steph Rubbo Saddlery & Leather Work Thank you for supporting all these talented makers who are working so hard making such beautiful things. Rachael X

  3. What an amazing list, thank you so much for supporting small businesses! At The Monkey Puzzle Tree we create unique fabrics, wallpapers and homewares with a twist and a conscience. From secretly naughty lace to real cork wallpaper, our designs are made locally in the North of England in collaboration with artists.

    Also I’d like to recommend my local Leeds’ friends Dowsing and Reynolds who have an amazing array of light switches, lighting and accessories for the home, beautifully displayed in their darkly glamorous Victoria Quarter boutique

  4. This is one to add to the home screen whilst doing Christmas shopping.
    I would suggest with bricks and mortar in Didsbury (Manchester) but an online store too. Think scandì vibes, great candles, jewellery and bags as well as homewares.

  5. A bit of brazen self promotion!
    CoucouManou is an independent furniture company, based near Bath UK, offering a small collection of unique and beautiful furniture, designed and manufactured by me, Nell Beale.
    Please take a look at and get in touch with any questions you may have.
    Thanks Kate, great idea👍

  6. Great idea Kate!

    I recommend for lovely towels but also throws, soaps, rugs… and On the upside frm Narin which sells upcycled items via their Facebook page.

  7. Well Kate, there is an abundant response to your list of small businesses. To add one more, your list is sterling!
    As a Canadian, I do support British small businesses and love the quality the style, and the landscape. For those seeking something perhaps a little different, I would like to add a Canadian artisan broom making company located on Granville Island, Vancouver B.C. Owned and operated by two sisters, who both left professional careers to return to artisan roots, Mary and Sarah celebrate ten years successfully hand making Shaker style brooms. I bought one!

  8. A fantastic post Kate! thank you for the fab recommendations and the growing list of independents in the comments.

    I’d love to add one of my favourites for gifts and personal treats … English Creamware & Fine Bone China . BIG TOMATO COMPANY sells the best mugs, plates, kitchen storage jars, butter dishes, the most incredible scented candles and really cute Christmas baubles. Customising to make a truly unique gift is one of their specialities. Everything is made in Stoke on Trent and it’s a black female owned business –

  9. Such a wonderful list, thank you for making it just at the perfect moment! I love Endlings (@endlings.hastings), Butler’s Emporium (@butlersemporium3), Warp & Weft (@warpandweft) and Hendy’s Homestore (@a_g_hendy_co_homestore), all in the Old Town in Hastings. I also import and sell a carefully sourced collection of fair trade Moroccan rugs at @old_yarns on Instagram. Everything is hand made using natural materials and made by a brilliant women’s cooperative in the High Atlas.

  10. Wonderful post & recommendations. Please everyone always try and buy locally and if you have to buy online buy direct wherever possible – even if it takes 2 days longer than Amazon to reach you!

  11. Thank you so much Kate. Loads of wonderful people to support here, can’t wait to do my Xmas shopping with them. I’d love to also give a shameless plug if I may to my own biz too. Fabulous antique and vintage hand-selected homeware plus loads of styling tips and tricks too. I had to leave my store and set up my online boutique during the first lockdown so any support would be so welcome. Love to all…we’ll make it through this! Xxx

  12. I love Audenza!

    They’re my go-to for buying quirky and colourful things for my home and a great selection of unusual gifts for like-minded friends. Their customer service is fab too – feels like they genuinely care about their customers and are always happy to help me with design ideas. I have so much on my wish list for Christmas!

  13. With luck and some strategic shopping we can help our lovely local small businesses stay afloat until after the New Year. That would be a Christmas miracle.

  14. Love this! Thanks so much for the list. A couple to add that I personally shop from and love:
    Scribble and Daub for all sorts of cards and more, Caroline is absolutely fabulous and so lovely.
    Clod and Pebble for handmade bowls, plates etc (the little berry bowl is genius and the spoon rests are wonderful)
    The Hambledon lovely homewares store
    Plain Useful the most wonderful home items and fantastic customer service too

    I’ll probably thing of a gazillion more and add later but a few to start with. So looking forward to checking out everyone’s suggestions.

  15. Hi Kate, thank you so much for supporting small businesses. Have a look at Basalt and Dune, Pembrokeshire, run by mother & daughter team, with a colour palette inspired by St Davids coastline. Their little shop is so inspired & I wish them well.
    For handmade Welsh throws, blankets & cushions try Tregwynt Woolen Mill, a Victorian mill by the sea, supporting lots of skilled weavers,

  16. Thanks for these links, Kate.
    I discovered (yes, it’s got 3 ds in the name!) during the first lockdown – they’re a sort of collective of makers from all around the country and organise regular virtual markets, the Festive one is this Saturday. Lots of the creatives offer discounts during them too. I bought several gifts earlier in the year, some squirrelled away for Christmas, and found lots of small businesses/independents that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across.
    I live in the south and South Coast Makers Market usually run monthly markets local to me and were about to open a Christmas pop-up shop this month, sadly postponed. A lot of their regular stall holders also sell online. Also Frome Independents (market organisers), and Simple Shape and Otto Home, both for un-fussy, unique homewares and accessories.
    And Greenrooms Market have a virtual market for plants and plant accessories – love their regular real life markets, mostly held in London, and do so hope they can start up again before too long.
    I’m not affiliated to any of these businesses/organisations, just a longtime supporter of small independents making and selling unique items. They need us more than ever now – use them or lose them, we won’t know what we’ve got ‘til they’re gone!

  17. I fear I will be bankrupt by the time I’ve finished clicking on these links! Great selection, thanks Kate. I’d like to add for beautiful hand-crafted accessories and homewares.

  18. A brilliant list, and there will be lots more added I know, so I look forward to checking back regularly. One of my favourite small shops for beautiful interiors finds (sometimes vintage) and lovely gifts is Winter’s Moon in Chichester, who are also online at

    Can I also cheekily add in a collective of twelve contemporary designer-makers & artists that I belong to – Chiswick Creatives, based in London W4 and surrounding areas. We create high quality, sustainable, original designs – from home textiles to handmade books, prints and artworks, jewellery, ceramics, luxury home fragrance, hand-crafted children & baby gifts and more. Our brand new website is and we have a Christmas Gift Guide coming very soon.

    We’re also proud supporters of the JUST A CARD campaign, who promote and celebrate buying from small and independent businesses. Their new website, and social media feeds in particular, are fantastic places to discover small and independent businesses and indie makers –

    Thanks Kate for your support. These are the toughest of times, but if we all shop small, local and independent when we can then we have a shot at preserving our diverse, vibrant, local communities and high streets.

  19. Great idea!! Could I please add Alkemi – a shop in Nunhead in London that does UK delivery. Mostly homeware with some clothes and toiletries. Mostly Japanese and Korean. Amazing for gifts and a lovely owner.

  20. Great idea! One of my favourite places to buy kitchen and tablemats is E Inder Designs. They were a husband and wife team I happened upon at the Cirencester Craft Market. The husband created all of the designs in wood and they are a very highly quality. Sadly he passed away last year and his lovely wife has been carrying on the business. I bought all of my placements and coasters from them, and will be doing all of my Christmas shopping from their website. Really worth checking out, for quality and value for money.

  21. Great list. Thank you Kate. We need to support these small business so much!
    Two of my favourites: – a carefully considered selection of vintage, mid century, retro and contemporary furniture, lighting and homeware.
    Works with designers, makers and artists to design beautiful objects worthy of keeping and passing down through generations.

  22. I love this list, thankyou, it will give me something to pore over since we are in week 3 of Irish lockdown. I also recommend the milking shed a small wood studio run by John Ryan in Wexford and Peninsula Pottery, beautifully made by Lorraine O Carroll in Donegal.

  23. Thanks so much for this. Some of my favourites are in there too. It would be great if everyone could support small businesses this Christmas – there are so many fabulous things out there! My own little piece of the small business world is Kettle of Fish Designs – making unusual and beautiful things for the home.

  24. Great idea Kate – thankyou. Sometimes the big A is unavoidable, but I always shop locally if possible. Will be checking these out today

  25. That’s a great list Kate. Some I already know and some new to me. It’s great to be able to explore new makers and sellers and to know that my business and money is going to someone other than a huge conglomerate who frankly could do with giving away some of their gazillions ( no names mentioned, just , J. B.!)

    Claire Gaudion rugs and home furnishings are inspired by nature’s colours, patterns and textures.

    Bringing nature inside, through colours, patterns and textures that mimic nature, increases our connection with the natural world and enhances wellbeing and happiness.

    Nature’s colours for a feel-good home.
    Shop online at

    Thanks for supporting small businesses, Kate!

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