I LOVE independent brands- not only because they’re so unique and design led, but also because we would totally be a slave to the big businesses..and let’s face it, they don’t really care about us as much as the small businesses do!
This week in Olympia, the ever so festive ‘Spirit of Christmas Fair‘ has been showcasing over 750 independent retailers. On it’s 15th year running now, it really is the best place to get your Christmas shopping done and this year was my first visit! Did I take enough money? NO. Did I want everything? YES. I went along with my mummy and little Stanley, but on reflection it really is not the place to take children. I think I assumed he’d be ok strapped into the pushchair with lots of snacks and bribery, but yeah mum think again. That certainly didn’t happen, in fact the total opposite did…he spent the whole time clinging to my hip breaking out in a random tantrum every 15 minutes (yes sorry that was my son making all that noise). Do I wish I’d left him at home? YES. Who ever said shopping was fun with kids? NO ONE!
Aside from my childcare issues in a hot, packed out venue…it was brimming with fantastic Christmas decorations, fashion, gifts, children’s toys, homewares, food and much much more. But I have to say the biggest thing you take away from visiting the fair is without a doubt an insight into brands and retailers you may not have heard about. Businesses that are creative, have a story to tell, individual and innovative.
I’ve rounded up a few of my favourites;
Bernie and the beanpole– Fun and vibrant children’s wear. Cool chunky Pom Pom hats, scarves and gloves, printed pyjamas and leg warmers to make even Cyndi Lauper jealous! I of course cannot keep Stanley away from hats so sure enough he was willing to get one on his head…and it stayed on his head for the remainder of the day! (Click here to visit their website)
White Coco– Stylish womenswear, stunning leather bags and the softest and silkiest pom accessories for keyrings and bags. I’m a sucker for animal print and their pony skin and leopard print clutches are divine! They’ve also just opened their very first shop in Berkshire. (Click here to visit their website)
Lollipop– Stationary, gifts and home. Don’t even get me started on stationary. Having spent most of my childhood collecting erasers with my best friend, and a Saturday morning in woolworth’s deciding which note pad to get, stationary has never ceased to appeal and excite me! I have to say, I have actually had a wall planer from Lollipop in the past and loved it, but to see the range in its glory at the fair was fab. I particularly love their personalised constellation prints which would look awesome in the boys room 😉 (Click here to visit their website)
Smalls– Beautifully soft 100% merino layering items for babies and children. The prettiest colour palette in soft tones of pink, grey and blues, this range is skin-loving and complete with essential items such as vests, T’shirts, swaddling blankets and baby grows. What’s even better is that they are all hypoallergenic. (Click here to visit their website)
Raj Tent Club– Yes, fundamentally it’s a tent company. But we’re not talking any ol’ tent..but the best bespoke canvas handmade in India kind that you could dream about forevermore! These beautiful canopies are stunning and what’s more is they also have a vast range of Indian textiles and homewares to shout about too. Stan was a big fan of the rattan furniture…perfect for littles. (Click here to visit their website)
Ailera– Gorgeous hamam towels and throws. For years now, each summer my mum and I say we’re going to get some Hamam towels and have we yet? No! They come in beautiful colours and stripe variations, but in addition to these Ailera sell lovely large throws and I had my eye on the skull printed one of course! (Click here to visit their website)
So who’s ready for Christmas? Ok, I’m not quite, but my visit to the fair certainly got me in the mood. I’m beginning to feel festive and am totally inspired to shop independently this Christmas, because we must support these fabulously unique brands. Who’s with me?!