Shops you need to visit in Belfast
Its been a year to the day since I launched my blog and this was one of my first posts. A few things have changed since I wrote it with one business going online and I've been meaning to update photos and info and thought this would be the perfect opportunity!Plus I've added another store so really its 6 for the price of 5!
In this blog post I visited various independent retailers in Belfast which has seen the rise of independent outfits as shoppers seek out good craftsmanship and design. Below are my top 5 who promote and support local designers and craftsmen and women.
1. Maven- Reid Memorial Hall, 4a Maryville Avenue, Belfast
This little gem is tucked away just off the Lisburn road. It was opened in 2013 by sisters Catherine and Patricia in a former Memorial Hall where it houses home wares for the design conscious with a mix of Irish and Scandinavian brands like Bricolage linen, Mourne Textiles,Hay,Muuto and Ferm Living. Step inside this ultra cool shop to discover raised plant stands, colourful pendant lamps, beautiful dining chairs, hand woven throws and a beautiful blue velvet sofa upstairs! Its still one of my favourite places to visit in Belfast.
They also offer an interior design service so you can get an interior to match their sleek products.
2.Studio Souk 60-62 Ann Street, Belfast
The shop is now located in Ann Street in a 3000sqft store over 3 floors. The store is a registered charity and offers affordable work spaces for makers and crafters, creating a communtiy of like minded creatives. The store provides small businesses an opportunity to sell their goods within an established store in Belfast City Centre and allows the makers who have workshops upstairs an opportunity to engage with their purchasers and getdirect feedback.
Here you will find bespoke cushions from Gertrude Anna, macramé by Astrl Fibres, paper cuts by Blackbird Papercuts, paper art by Paper Amy (see the sloth below), pottery by Stephen Farnan, handpainted quotes on reclaimed wood by Once Upon a Dandelion and lots of art and prints by Aly Harte, Chantelle Coombes, White Chalk Studio and Kathryn Callaghan which you could get framed by the in-house framer Danielle from The Framing Gallery.
3. Doodle and Boom- Dufferin Avenue Bangor
This compact little shop was set up by husband and wife team and has just celebrated its second birthday, although technically not in Belfast I had to include it on the list.Once inside you will find quality gifts and homewares many of which are sourced within the UK and Ireland promoting local talent alongside international brands providing an eclectic mix of items.
Most of the brands are exclusive to the Co. Down shop, with many being completely new to Northern Ireland. You will also find their own personal range of gifts which can be tailored to the customers requirements. Look out for prints from local artist Foss Artist, including the shop owner's own pieces, candles (with the best names) from local business Filthy Velvet, coasters and tea towels with local landmarks and handcrafted botancial skincare . The store also stocks renowned Irish designer jewellery brands Blaithin Ennis and Scribble and Stone.
This part of Bangor has undergone a transformation in the last couple of years with independent retailers and companies opening shops. The street even has its own website- The Avenue. Worth the trip next time you are down for some fresh sea air!
This market is the epicentre for all things local. The best time to visit is on Saturday for the City food and Craft Market and Sunday for the Sunday Market. Saturday hosts specialty foods from around the world as well as handmade crafts, flowers, plants and local photography, pottery, glass and metal work whilst on Sunday the market places special emphasis on local arts and crafts. The live music, food stalls and mix of people all create a welcoming and friendly environment and is one place I make sure I take any visitors to. My top picks for stalls (not including the numerous delicious hot food and cupcake stall) to visit are:
Flax Fox- Lovely local illustrations
Deborah Toner- architectural embroidery on local linen
The Bearded Candle Makers - candles inspired by the scents of Northern Ireland
Itty Bitty Book Co.- Promoting positivity through their range of book and prints
5. Atelier Design No. 7 Wellington Place, Belfast
This interiors and showroom has the best collection of eclectic homewares beautifully displayed. For fans of Jonathan Adler and Christian Lacroix it's a must on the list to visit. It is situated on the first and second floor of an old Georgian house which provides the backdrop for the showroom. They currently have an amazing pink velvet sofa! The second floor houses the vast wallpaper and material samples for the interior design side to the business and French Vintage Vie, a small business which sources vintage french furniture which is beautifully restored. PS I need those rocket shaped drink decanter!
Since I wrote this post Kiln and Loom have closed down their physical store and relaunched as an online store. It still has beautiful Irish products like McNutt throws, Thomas Powell pottery and hand blown glass by Scott Benefield.