The founders of A South London Makers Market reveal the secrets of their success and their top independent brands from every corner of the internet.
In the pantheon of independent brands, it can oftentimes be difficult to distinguish between the fab and the drab. What works in somebody’s home, or as part of somebody’s wardrobe, might not translate as seamlessly into your own, and vice versa. How do you identify when something’s a genuine endorsement courtesy at the hands of one of your favourite influencers or yet another #SponCon post?
There’s one safe place on the internet where those in the know go, which is to say those who want to sieve through the noise and invest in truly the best independent brands, and it’s a lesser-known Instagram account that goes by the name of A South London Makers Market.
Founded in December 2019 by twins Olivia and Daisy, who cut their teeth working in retail for high street juggernauts including Asos Marketplace, H&M and River Island, the premise was simple and clear: to create a marketplace that stocked covetable, wearable and independent brands. To eschew the connotations that markets often garner of being solely for crafty types and fling open the doors on the indie world for any and all. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before A South London Makers Market’s star soared.
“As soon as we set up our first physical event, people were excited about it. 500 people turned up to our first real life market in Crystal Palace with minimal advertising and marketing!” Olivia tells Stylist. “We didn’t have a big following then, but we stood outside stations handing out flyers, putting up signs in local shop windows and telling literally every single person we met about it – and I mean every single person!”
While the pandemic has ravaged large swathes of retail – an approximate 2.8% of chain-owned outlets have shuttered their doors over the last year – only 0.5% of independents have, a testament to their agility. This is something that Olivia and Daisy can testify to; two years on from A South London Makers Market’s inception, and it’s launching its first in-person pop-up in the hallowed halls of Selfridges this week.
The clutch of brands it will be showcasing are among the pair’s favourites that they’ve championed, and their success has been tangible. “Since taking the market online we’ve reached a global audience, our stallholders have had orders from all around the world, and that could never have been possible with the traditional market model,” Olivia expands.
Needless to say, we were left chomping at the bit to find out what Olivia and Daisy’s favourite and the best – and when we say the best, we mean the best – independent brands from every corner of the world were. We asked, they delivered and you’re welcome.
“As soon as we stumbled across KYODAI’s range of handmade moiré bags we were obsessed! Sustainably and intricately handcrafted in London by Scarlett using biodegradable fabrics in the prettiest sweetie shades, Kyodai’s collection of luxurious bags are like the breath of fresh air your accessories collection has been waiting for! These gorgeous pastel tones and cute shapes are summer personified, but they’re still just big enough for all your bits and bobs. Plus cleverly, Scarlett’s bags are super flexible with different strap options so you can wear them in multiple ways. Such clever design.”
2) Mood Good
“We really believe in the power of positivity, so Rosie’s jewellery speaks to us in more ways than one. Designed with lots of cute details like hidden smiley faces, hearts and cherubs, each Mood Good piece is like a little talismans, made to remind you to look on the bright side of life. My personalised Mood Good necklace is my lucky charm; I always have a good day when I wear it.”
3) MW Makes
Honestly the level of detail in Michelle’s craftsmanship is absolutely second to none. We love that she has subverted the usual black and brown products you get from most leather goods companies. Instead, she’s thought carefully about how her items can bring a moment of joy to your day: from the bright rainbow shades she uses to the positive slogans she hand-stamps onto them. Every MW Makes piece is thoughtfully designed and lovingly made; you can really feel their quality when you touch them and use them.
4) Sebastian Sochan
Seb is a true artist in that he really pours himself into every thing he makes! His products are filled with emotion, with passion, with heart. As soon as we found out that he names each piece after an emotional song lyric we knew we had a fellow Cancerian on our hands, and we were into it! We feel such a strong connection to his work. His glossy resin bookends especially take our breath away!
5) Studio Janettie
We’re both big into interiors, we spend so much time having conversations about the decoration of our little London flats! So as soon as we knew Charlotte and Micaela were collaborating on a new homeware brand, we were buzzing with excitement! Combining Micaela’s expert upholstery skills and Charlotte’s pattern designing, they’ve created an exceptionally lovely range of ruffled cushions, lampshades and furniture which are all made from start to finish in the UK. Such #cottagecore vibes!
6) Sugar and Cement
We want to make life as joyful as possible, which is why we love what Gemma does at Sugar and Cement so much! Her colourful eco-cement homeware and tableware bring a small moment of happiness into your daily rituals. Whether it’s her handmade plant pots, ruffled linen napkins or colourful twisty candles, she’s got something to transform every nook and cranny of your home into a cute vignette!
7) Harlie Briggs
London artist Harlie Briggs has been painting the female form since 2016, inspired by a desire to uplift and celebrate the supportive women around her! Her up cycled vases are our particular faves, each is painted with nude female body; they’re so powerful and beautiful. Plus we love the fact that each one is vintage so they’re all one-of-a-kind.
Bable’s intricately hand painted candles have captured the hearts and imaginations of every home-lover since they burst onto the scene last year, including ours! Bianca carefully and lovingly hand paints each and every single candle in London with charming miniature designs, inspired by cute things she finds in everyday life; from the juicy citrus lemons in her fave cocktails to the winding wisteria growing on the houses around her in West London. No #tablescape is complete without one!
9) Pastel Palette
If we could, we would live in Gaeun’s pastel world, wouldn’t you!? Founder Gaeun hand pours every single candle herself in London, combining the highest quality soy wax and natural dyes with her own unique blend of premium fragrance oils that fill your home even when unlit. They’re just so so so cute.
10) Ella Stern
We both bought pieces of jewellery from London jeweller Ella Stern as recognition of reaching a specific business milestone, so they really mean so much to us. Every time we wear them we’re remembered of those feelings of happiness and achievement, plus they’re just absolutely gorgeous handmade pieces.
11) Isla Risa
Maybe we’re biased because we both have slight addictions to tiny handbags, but Isla Risa’s woven hive bags just make our hearts sing! They’re really cleverly handmade out of one giant length of silky satin ribbon and we think their design is just so clever and original. Plus, Emma makes them in the most gorgeous colours - the lilac is our fave!
12) Lotta Blobs
It’s not an over exaggeration to say that Shantelle’s wavy handmade mirrors have taken Instagram by storm this past year! She can hardly keep them in stock! They really capture the trend for wiggly scalloped edges that we’re obsessed with. Plus, they’re just such an original, fun design.
Selfridges x A South London Makers Market pop-up launches 29 May - 4 June.
Images: courtesy of A South London Makers Market