This month we set India, our placement student from Leicester, the task of discovering all that our local Exmouth Market has to offer, with a fresh pair of eyes. All independent stores, she rounded up everything from tattoo parlours to record-store cafés and artisan florists. Here are her highlights:
The Family Business tattoo parlour was established in 2003, with the aim of creating a new setting for tattoo enthusiasts – a shop with a different approach and a unique environment. Today, The Family Business is one of the leading tattoo studios in the capital, with a strong presence on the international scene, and attracts visitors daily, ready for their next inking.
It’s quite the showstopper on this quaint street, bringing an air of 1950s/60s East London with its striking black fascia and Gill Sans font type. It’s a macho counterpart to its market neighbours. On approach you’re greeted by a red velvet-draped window lined with candles – the vibe is gothic meets the Krays.
What we love
With a waiting list that’s three months long, customers expect a great tattoo and service to match. While we didn’t get inked, we did check out the experience… We love the store’s statues and Roman Catholic imagery, inspired by its owner’s Italian heritage. It’s like entering a church of tattoos; with some of the best tattoo artists in the world based here, it’s a bit of a mecca for body art.
When on Exmouth Market, you have to drop into Botanique, especially if you’re after a unique gift. An artisan store and flower shop, with a meticulously curated collection of handcrafted products, customers can pick up fresh bouquets, cards or jewellery, either created in store, or by like like-minded, independent British designers/ makers based almost exclusively in London. The shop owner is often busy crafting items as customers look around – it’s a hive of activity, with the constant hum of the sewing machine, and customers can really see how their products are made.
What we love
Greeting customers with its delicate pastel store exterior, along with trays of hand-picked flowers and cacti, Botanique is simply beautiful. When you step inside, you walk into a workshop and we love the contrast of the beautiful light flowery approach against the industrial Aladdin’s cave interior. Inside it feels quite earthy and unfinished – very eclectic, with a mix of handmade items, laid out on reclaimed furniture or any prop that will fit, hanging baskets dangling from the ceiling. Other small details include old pottery and bottles for your bouquets, leather straps supporting wooden shelves and handwritten labels on each item for sale – making everything feel like a one-off.
The Content Store is an independent menswear retailer, established in March 2013, and is the only clothing store present on the market. It’s described as a no-nonsense, functional menswear store with a reputation for supplying timeless and contemporary brands from around the globe. The store stocks a selection of men’s clothing and lifestyle products, including brands like: Alden Shoe Company, AMI, Battenwear, Champion, Edwin, Engineered Garments, Filson, Gitman Vintage, Monitaly, Nike, Our Legacy, Red Wing, YMC and Zespa.
What we love
We love this small independent; it has an adventurous feel to it with many of its features based on construction and creativity. There’s lots of timber to create a natural feel, metal poles carry the clothes, and in the centre of the store a ladder reaches up to a library of jeans. We also love the sign ‘Never Give Up’ behind the cash desk, they’ve got just the right balance between creative and luxury.
For more on Exmouth Market, and to hear directly from the owners of two concept stores about why they love the market and its ever so changing culture, read India’s blog here
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