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Agapanthus Interiors’ Top 5

Specialising in antique and furniture restoration, and antique chandeliers, carefully sourced from the UK and Europe, Agapanthus Interiors is a superstar amongst the local independents in Stockport Old Town.

Founded by Zoe & Tom in 2014, over the last 15 years the pair have nurtured a community of talented designers and accomplished craftspeople to bring beautiful furniture and homewares to their magical shop and online store.

If you’ve never met a French chandelier you didn’t love, Zoe’s Top 5 local independents are recommendations worth dipping your quill for….

Zoe & Tom outside their beautiful Agapanthus Interiors shop

1. Van the Welder

Behind a row of Terrace houses in the West of Manchester resides Van The Welder’s small perfectly formed fabrication shop. Stephen (affectionately known as Ste-van) started his fledgling business after an unexpected redundancy, mid pandemic, September 2020. Having worked over 31 years as a welder/fabricator both in the UK and for a time in Barcelona, SteVan has the capability to create anything you can imagine in a metal of your choice, from Crittal style doors, camper van roof racks to bespoke furniture.

Why is it Top 5? I’ve loved observing the launch into self-employment from Ste-van after taking redundancy on the chin due to Covid-19. This welding talent creates not only functional pieces but also fun decorative wares for the home and garden. I can vouch for the quality too having just ordered our 5th piece.

Ste-Van the Welder with handmade pumpkin and decorated Christmas wreath

2. Still Life Story, 16 Merseyway, SK1 1PJ.

Homewares and lifestyle pieces selected to promote slow living. With their collections Still Life Story aim to transcend trends and help you to create your own unique story.

Why is it Top 5? A fellow shop owner in Stockport who brings bright, fun and stylish homewares to the area. Ruby adapted so well to the changing demands over the lockdown periods which also included delivering weekly seasonal bouquets to your door. Now situated on the Mersey Way with a pop of yellow shop frontage, this temporary space is certainly still a highlight in Stockport.

Ruby, Still Life Story Shop, 16 Merseyway, Stockport.

3. Underbank Studios, 11 Underbank, SK1 1LA.

Underbank Studios is an artist and designer collective of four local women with a vision to open a not-for-profit, multi-purpose artists studio space and cultural hub in Stockport Old Town.

Why is it Top 5? An exciting and refreshing space opened by four creatives in June 2021 on the Underbanks. The project was crowd funded and they are keeping the campaign going to help fund workshops. This dynamic hub adds a new dimension to the area which I can’t wait to see more of.

US is founded by four female artist and designers, Lily, Heather, Luca & Becky.

4. The Old Potato Store

Karen Barlow Interior designer and stylist set up The Old Potato Store, specialising in decorative accessories that make a space individual and personal, such as period mirrors, original antique artwork, faded and aged decorative architectural salvage and traditional handmade practical objects.

Why is it Top 5? We have a shared passion for beautifully worn decorative pieces, Karen’s feed is filled with her curated flea market finds, beautifully styled.

Karen Barlow, interior designer, stylist and creator of The Old Potato Store.

5. On The Brink

On The Brink Studio is a Manchester based collaborative brought to you by furniture ace Gareth Batowski and photographer extraordinaire Elle Brotherhood.

Why is it Top 5? This dynamic and forward thinking duo continues to inspire us. We’ve collaborated with them for years on both professional and home projects. Their unique and authentic approach to each project they embark on is refreshing to see.

Blue Kitchen by Gareth Batowski

Find Agapanthus Interiors online and at 77 Wellington Street, Hillgate, SK1 1FE. Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 4pm.

Agapanthus Interiors, 77 Wellington Street, Hillgate, Stockport, SK1 1FE.
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The Long Shot Exp. Top 5

Periphery by The Long Shot Exp. and Marc Provins, Marvin Mountain Cap in bone.

Big week in little Flixton. Not only has The Long Shot Exp. launched a fresh crop of caps but Mike, mighty milliner and founder of Long Shot, has put together a Top 5 of local independents for our web-based weekend exploration. Hold on to your, errr, hats…

1. Note Shop, Northern Quarter

First things first, skateboarding is not a sport. It is a wonderfully immersive way of life and the best people to guide you through this magical world are the ladies and gentlemen of your local skater owned skateshop. Note’s two shops in the Northern Quarter provide everything you need and more. During this past year it seems many kids have picked up a board for the first time and if I can give one piece of advice to parents it is take your children to the local skate shop, the staff may seem weird at first but they are fantastic and will open the doors to a positive cultural experience.

2. Bags of Flavor, Tib Street

Richie was one of the first people I got to know in Manchester over twenty years ago. He is a living subculture encyclopaedia and if you can get him talking you’ll discover gems of knowledge that the internet will never know. The shop is always chock full of treasure for your mind, body and soul.

3. Libero, Altrincham

DeliveRooney will bring beer to your door.

The premise is simple, somewhere to watch the football with nice beers and no knobheads. Ian, Paul and Danielle have achieved this small but elusive dream in an Altrincham courtyard. Given the current situations, founder Paul (Rooney) will bring beer to your door with his DeliveRooney service. The bar is small and friendly with room outside in the courtyard if, like me, you not a fan of the match.

4. Figurments

Figments produce small runs of high quality, unisex clothing. Made in the UK for the best part, influences come from Dutch Masters and Japanese woodblock prints as well as Rob and Gre’s backgrounds in skateboarding and tattooing.

5. Passion Fruit Coffee Roasters, Ayres Road, Old Trafford

Passion Fruit’s shop and roastery on Ayres Road, Old Trafford, is not only filled with incredible coffee but beautiful chocolate and various coffee related trinkets – I have no idea what they’re for but I want them nonetheless. I met Shen when I was looking for locally roasted coffee to package with Long Shot’s collaboration with Percy Dean Ceramics. She delivered the goods and anyone who copped a Long Shot Coffee Club set knows that’s the double truth Ruth!

Long Shot create meticulously designed and crafted headwear, made by hand, one at a time in Manchester. The first spring pieces have just dropped on their website.

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Introducing Be Diddy

Founded in 2020, Be Diddy serve up a carefully curated selection of children’s clothes with a focus on vintage, well-made, sustainable items that are functional and stylish.

No surprise then to often find Be Diddy’s founder Kayleigh buried under a pile of mini Carhartt dungarees in her Manchester studio, Brothers & Sisters dig her out to find out how her passion for quality, sustainable clothes has quickly built a bonny Be Diddy following.

Be Diddy’s Kayleigh in the studio