I’ve got a brand new stockist and it’s a pretty magical one at that. This stockist isn’t just new to me, it’s a shiny new business right here in Sheffield. The Steel Cauldron is a brand new cafe in Broomhill inspired by the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
An Advanced Preview
I have been lucky enough to get a tour ahead of their opening. One thing I can safely say it is very worth getting excited about! The doors open on July 31st. Within a day of announcing they were taking bookings they had 1000 people booked on to their Wizards Afternoon tea. Chocolate frog or a Yorkshire cauldron anyone?
The cafe takes inspiration from the wizarding world. It features an enchanting array of magical objects in every direction that you can look. The quality and love that has gone into building the place is apparent and it is obviously going to be a huge hit!
With the world the way it is right now Nikki and Rob and the team have done an incredible job. The ideas they have for the future of the Steel Cauldron are exciting too and I can’t wait to book in for a visit!
Stop in for a Coffee or Perhaps Even Stay the Night
Nestled in the attic is an incredible space which the team plan to rent out as Air Bnb accommodation. Modelled on a magical shopping alley each room becomes its own wonky wizarding shop. Is it weird to stay in an air bnb in the city you live in? I guess we’ll find out!
Sheffield is perfectly located between the Warner Brothers Harry Potetr Studio Tour, the magical Shambles in York and filming locations in Northumberland and Scotland. Any Potter fans on a tour of the UK would be bonkers not to check into this charmed apartment on their travels.
International Appeal, Local Love
You’ll find lots of Sheffield artisan goodness at The Steel Cauldron. Right down to the coffee you’ll drink. In the gift shop section local makers like myself and Holly Heartfelt are being championed. It’s wonderful to have the chance to be part of this brilliant new business. Plus all my spooks are right at home! I’ve even dropped off some brand new print designs ahead of opening too.
For more information and to book now, visit www.thesteelcauldron.co.uk
I love announcing new stockists to you guys! As you know from my earlier posts, I have had a big shakeup of this this year. I want to pick the perfect stockists for me and my brand. Places where my work just makes sense to be. i has meant leaving some stockists, but only hen I have felt it was right. When I found Happy Emo online, I knew I found my people! I was surprised I hadn’t seen them before. Even a quick browse on their site showed me I would fit in just fine.
All about Happy Emo
The shop is like an etsy for alternative artists. They link with artists and sellers across the globe to bring a curated selection of gothic goodness, spooky special and twisted treats. There are over 30 premium creators profiled on the site. I am super happy to say that now one of them is me! You can browse by creator, by collection, or just everything on the site.
Alternative Specialist Site
It’s really exciting to find new alternative shopping sites. When you draw spooks all day, it’s hard to consider your work mainstream. Happy Emo sees me in good company. It’s a one stop shop for anyone into alternative art too. Even the name suits my work just perfectly. Everything I create is dark and cheery simultaneously. Happily emo indeed!
There are a lot of other great artists on the site too. It is such a treat to browse a site where everything is a bit dark, rather than trying to seek out that one alternative artist which is common in bricks and mortar indie shops. The beauty of an online platform can bring us something niche and wonderful.
To celebrate joining you can grab 10% off your whole basket on your first order! Wowee right? Just use the code SIANELLIS10 at the checkout.
Earlier in the year I joined the ranks at October 31st. As the name suggests, the store is a haven of Halloween. Run by true Halloween enthusiast and aficionado and the chap behind SpookyWil this online retailer does a grand old job of bridging the gap between the UK and the US with regards to a good quality Halloween store.
I had covered in my annual goals review that I wanted to focus my stockists a little more in 2020. October 31st was clearly somewhere I felt that my work would belong.
Spooky is for life, not just for Halloween
October 31st is a shop for folks who have their Halloween’s more than on just one night a year. You’ll find that there are actually plenty of us in the UK. All of whom know the feeling far too well of falling in love with a spooky find online just to encounter an eye watering shipping cost at the checkout screen. October 31st is UK based and gives you your Halloween fix all year long for the price of domestic postage.
With plenty of finds from across the pond and adorable original designs too (the ‘To Boo List’ planner is firmly on my shopping list!) it’s also a great place to discover pieces by a variety of spooky artists. I could not be in better company.
Halloween is where the Heart is
We might all get excited for when TK Maxx get’s it’s Halloween stock in each year but October 31st is the only shop in the UK that really takes the holiday to heart. What more could you ask for? Even as I type this I have a podcast of scary stories on in the background and am wearing my Creepy Co x Beistle vintage Halloween cat tee. October 31st is great creepy company to keep. It’s the perfect place to treat yourself to something spooky, whether it’s Halloween, half-o-ween or anytime before or after 🎃
Go find yourself a Halloween treat now at October31st.co.uk
After announcing my stockist shake up earlier in the year I have more news. I have a new stockist! The announcement comes following my goal to shake up my stockists. This was part of my New Years resolutions that I like to set each year for my business. It follows me choosing to leave some stockists and some stockists closing down.
Part of my aim was to increase wholesale orders and reduce my outgoings towards renting shop space. However, it’s not a hard and fast rule, it just has to be for the right stockist!
The Fox Fairy, Afflex Palace
I first heard about the Fox Fairy after meeting the proprietor at the Manchester Print Fair. Elizabeth is a talented Lino cutter and we have a mural appreciation for each others work. She mentioned that she had a shop in Afflex palace which immediately pricked up my ears. This was in May 2019 and at that time the shop was full for new stockists.
Fast forward to the start of 2020 and with a space finally in store Elizabeth reached out to me. She asked if I was still interested in the store. Of course I was! I was sold and dropped in my stock at the beginning of February.
I had lost my only Manchester stockist towards the end of 2019 due to store closure. The Fox Fairy is based on the top floor of Afflex palace. I LIVED in Afflex Palace as a teenager. Well, as much as a teenager from Blackpool can afford the train fare to do so. There are shops that haven’t changed at all there since that time. It’s a haven of alternative independent shopping and rich in nostalgia for me. It’s also my number one go to for ice cream whenever I am in the city. Ginger’s Comfort Emporium’s “French Elvis” is a religious experience! There’s costumes, clothes, jewellery, art, posters, beads, games, figures; all sorts. A Mecca for the motley. A shopping centre for the strange. To have my work there is an absolute dream. I have moments often as an artist where I’d like to visit my child self and tell them about my life now. This was a point where I wanted to visit teenage Sian and tell her the good news.
Next time you are in Manchester,please visit! Say hello to lovely Elizabeth from me and check out my supersized display in store 🙂
I am on fire with new stockists at the moment. I started the year with none and by early July I had six stockists in five cities. Shop Small MCR is the fifth one I am introducing in this blog. Maths whizzes will work out that this means another one is on the way, but that’s another story for another time.
On the sixth day, God created Man(Chester)
I am super pleased, as a start, to have a Manchester stockist. Manchester is one of my favourite art cities. It’s the cultural mecca of my youth. Growing up in Blackpool there wasn’t a big selection of art and fashion. I’d take the train to the hustle and bustle of the city. Grab some new kit and visit a gallery. To this day it remains a hub of internationally reknowned cultural celebration. Heck, even on the day of setting up my stock I visited a surreal David Lynch exhibition and a ceramic exhibition by the talented Alex Sickling too. Of course, I also went shopping, and picked up a wicked ceramic treat from a lucky dip Gachabon machine in Magma and got some Fernandez Makes goodies from Swalk in Afflex Palace too.
So..erm…weren’t you talking about stockists?
YES! Yes I was. Shop Small MCR does not have a role in my nostalgia driven memories of Manchester because it brand spanking new! Open just 3 weeks when I dropped off my stock. It’s not just Shop Small MCR neither. The shop is located in a brand new shiny box park that has sprung up on Oxford Road. In student central July might be an awkward time to set up shop there but it’s a chance I’m taking and s punt I’m playing.
The box park is called Hatch and is following a trend for shipping container housed indie businesses in metropolitan cities across the UK. It might not even be just the U.K. I can picture this kind of thing in somewhere like Melbourne. All I know is that I’ve seen couple in a London, one in a Newcastle and one is being built in Sheffield as we speak. Hatch is a sprawling shanty town of cool under the bridge near Man Met Uni. There are still some units to let, but it’s already brimming with art, bars, food and craft ales. The empty units are just exciting potential currently and they’ll no doubt be snapped up soon.
Before even dropping off any stock I’d perused a small ceramics shop, and had a beer and some fresh and tasty Vietnamese food on a Pinterest-porn converted double decker bus. It’s the sort of place you can idle away a day without realising. Shop Small MCR does exactly what it says on the tin. A unit celebrating local(ish) makers and each maker with their own dedicated space. I am excited to be part of the beginning of something as cool as Hatch and I hope I can celebrate success with Shoo Small MCR along the way.
In July I joined the Design 44 family. The store is based in Derby City Centre and boasts over 70 designers in its walls. I shared the news on social media by comparing the shop to the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost ark. The cavernous store stocks independent maker upon independent maker in a very impressive space. I find curation of the store is equally impressive. If you spend long enough perusing it’s treasures you could make a serious dent in your bank account.
First Derby stockist
It’s my first stockist in Derby. It follows a successful first visit to the city with Northern Craft at a Bustler Market in May. The shop has got brilliant reviews and does a fabulous job of attracting new and regular customers. I have a 3ftx3ft space in the store. Upon a repurposed green door which now makes a stylish table sits my stock. With a backdrop of glorious exposed brick, is a selection of my prints, patches and badges on the first floor of the shop.
Additional stockist announcement
The shop seems genuinely unique. It seems to embrace the pop up and event based nature of independent selling. Not only does the store seem to take stalls at events, but they are also about to take a big step. From mid August they will have an additional pop up store in Derby’s Intu shopping centre. They have secured a retail unit for an initial 6 weeks which they are working to extend.
I am pleased to say that I will be one of the artists joining them in the pop up shop. They will create an impressive frame wall where up to 10 of my prints will be framed on display. It’s exciting as Intu should be a prime selling location. If the pop up can weather the demand for empty retail units at Christmas time and if I can stay in there at that busy shopping period then it could be a successful first few months in the shop.
To be able to announce Punnydukes as one of my official stockists is a brilliant milestone. I am proud and pleased to be part of the Punnydukes family. The shop is still quite new. It opened down a Matlock side street in December 2018. It is the creation of illustrator Katie Abey whose funny (and punny!) illustrated range of goodies are a staple of any independent gift shop in the U.K. Santa even brought e one of her mugs last Christmas.
The shop itself is a-maz-ing. Themed around the magical, it nods to the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland but most obviously to Harry Potter. A big influence on Kate’s work and with potter puns littering the shop (including the name, a Punny Honeydukes of course) The gorgeous bay windowed shop looks straight out of Diagonal Alley.
This store is so instagramable it hurts!
The shop had 7,000 international Instagram followers in its first few months of opening. One youtubers tour of the shop gained 50,000 views in about 3 days. The shop was Kickstarter backed and it just shows you what a worldwide audience there is for this store. There is a yearning to visit from fans across the globe.
Luckily for me, it’s just a 45 minute drive. There is certainly a fierce appetite for the store worldwide with many who will likely never get the chance to visit. I am really pleased that this doesn’t have to include me! I have already planned my first trip to the super instagramable independent store and it will be when I drop off my first batch of custom ceramic punny figures.
Punny is the teal wizard cat that is the mascot of Punnydukes. The store commissions artists to recreate punny in a range of mediums. There are a few crocheted punny’s I have spotted on their instagram. The adorable nature of the character and the cult status of the store shows there is a demand for Punnydukes branded products.
It’s been my first batch ceramics commission for a wholesale order and it’s been a delight to work with Punnydukes on this collaboration.