My Top 'Tried and Tested' Small Businesses
Recently, I took to Instagram to see if I should share a blog post featuring some of my favourite tried and tested small and independent businesses. This was met with a unanimous vote of 'YES!', so now I will do exactly that. To make sure this post isn't too long I am going to stick to only featuring brands that I have tried, and can confirm they are amazing! Let me know if you would like me to follow this post up with one featuring brands that are on my radar, which I haven't had the chance to buy into just yet - because that list is growing by the day also...
First up, it's probably no surprise that HADES are featured in this blog post. I've spoken about them before in this post here - about my experience with buying from them for the first time, and how happy I was. To me, HADES are everything that you would expect - and more - from a smaller business, giving you regular updates on the process of your handmade knit, as well as education into their methods and why they are the best of the best when it comes to knitwear. Lovingly made here in the UK, I can not recommend this brand more for anyone who, like me, has a knitwear obsession and is always on the hunt for jumpers that are made to last.
Cat O' Brien
Another not so surprising entry here is the fabulous Cat O'Brien and her life changing corsets. There is something so special about owning, and wearing, a custom made piece and my beloved corset made by Cat was my introduction to the bespoke way of life. Having such an iconic style herself, I knew I could trust Cat 100% to bring my vision to life and create a truly unique piece that is one of my most beloved items in my wardrobe! I've already spoken with Cat about adding another custom corset to my collection, so keep your eyes peeled as you will be seeing a lot of that too!
Elizabeth Ilsley and Hit and Run Ltd
Although these are two separate businesses, I thought it would be fitting to share them both together, as Elizabeth Ilsley's second collection has just been released in collaboration with Hit and Run Ltd. As with most people, I imagine, it was Ilsley's prints that drew my attention initially, pairing vintage porn shots with witty quotes - that attitude is something that really speaks to me. My first purchase was my 'Fuck Off' bag, hand-painted onto the cutest vintage leather, complete with studded pink organza strap (I know, perfect right?) I felt equally as excited when I heard about Ilsley collaborating with the made-to-order sustainable fashion brand that is Hit and Run Ltd. To save clothing heading to landfill, Hit and Run print their clothing in the UK once they are ordered, minimising the amount of wastage. It is clear that both Elizabeth Ilsley and Hit and Run Ltd have a sense of humour when it comes to their product, and a 'don't care' attitude that is everything that I am about when it comes to styling myself.
Another brand I have spoken about in a previous post (here) are the independent jewellery brand, Vicious Punx. This brand were one that was suggested to me in a sponsored Instagram post, I believe, and they could not have gotten their target audience more spot on. Since discovering the brand, I have bought several jewellery pieces from them, and ventured out of my comfort zone when it comes to trying new pieces. Their uniqueness and individuality was initially what drew me to the brand, and their amazingly affordable prices is what keeps me coming back. It's astounding how often they are adding more newness to their website, still maintaining their creativity and low prices. None of their jewellery pieces I have purchased has ever become damaged, rusted or tarnished, despite the fact they receive almost daily use! Anyone on the hunt for edgy and bold jewellery pieces, I highly recommend Vicious Punx.
If you are looking to decorate your home with some cheeky, tattoo-style artwork, look no further than my gorgeous friend Emmie. Her artistic talent amazes me, to the point where I had one of her pieces tattooed onto my skin. I'm blown away by how unique and creative her style is, and I sport my beloved 'Dairy Is Scary' tote bag (hand designed by Emmie herself) almost daily! Supporting your friends and their dreams is made easy when your friends are as talented as Emmie, so please, check out her page, give her a follow and treat yourself to a print.
A brand that I would recommend to anyone looking for gift ideas, or wanting to jazz up their home decor is Smokin' Pots. I was lucky enough to win one for myself when I entered a competition, and I didn't know how much I needed a hand-painted zebra plant pot, until I owned one. The brand owner, Eva, is such a lovely Yorkshire girl (like myself), and even offers custom designs for such a reasonable price, meaning there will always be a design available that you will love. With Christmas coming up, Smokin' Pots is a great gift idea that everyone will love, with the added knowledge that you are helping a small business with your support.
For months now, since I first learnt about Veronica Velveteen through Instagram, I had been telling myself that next payday I would treat myself to one of her stunning underwear sets; yet for some reason or other I always ended up spending all of my money before I got the chance. Finally, I recently treated myself to a bra and pant set, hand made from the most gorgeous silky soft velvet, which is perfectly sized to fit me. Oh how I wish I had made this investment sooner! Having only worn my new set once so far, I'm already considering with design to invest in next. Veronica Velveteen's sets are so, so reasonably priced considering the amount of work and the quality, and the ethics behind the brand can't be beaten. They are definitely a firm favourite of mine, and I can't wait for my collection to grow.
Bettie Belle Design
As someone who has an unhealthy addiction to collecting pin badges, I knew that as soon as Bettie Belle Design made me aware of the brand, that I needed to buy theirs straight away! There are so many punk-inspired designs, in a range of different sizes, meaning that you can really make a statement. I love to add my Bettie Belle pin badges to t-shirts and blazer lapels to just add a little more detail to my look, and the fun bright colours and slogans really do that. As well as pin badges, the brand also features cute jewellery pieces, fragrance oils and mystery boxes. Next on my list of purchases from this brand is the coolest mug that has my most favourite slogan across it: 'Pink is Punk'!
Oi Oi the Shop
Last, but certainly not least, on my list of tried and tested independent brands, I had to include Oi Oi the Shop in Camden, which I visited for the first time only recently. I loved the vibe of the shop, covered in punk and skinhead memorabilia, as well as most of the stock that they sell. I picked up a t shirt from there that was one of their very own designs, as well as (surprise surprise) a couple of pin badges, a facemask and a patch. It's a shame that this store is so far away from where I live, or else I could be spending my monthly wages there every month! However, the member of staff working that day told me that they were in the process of making an online store, so that's definitely one to look out for, until then if you're in the Camden area check out Oi Oi the Shop! Independent shops and businesses are the future of shopping, and I believe that all of our town centres, no matter where we live, need more stores like this place.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my favourite independent businesses and artists, please do check them out yourself and give them some love and support. As always, let me know if you want to see more posts like this - all brands featured today are all tried, tested, and loved by me, but I would be more than happy to do a post featuring all the small brands that I love but am yet to try!
Thank you for reading, until next time