I recently read somewhere that ‘every time you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance’.
This really made me reflect on my shopping habits.
More often than not – particularly in the large, industrial city that is Birmingham – I find myself automatically heading to the city centre to pick up everything from clothing to homeware at my favourite large-scale retailers.
Now, don’t get me wrong – my love for Oliver Bonas is eternal – but I’ve realised that the my purchasing of a photo frame for my new apartment, for example, is going to mean much less to a corporate company. Deep down, it’s the statistics for this month’s spreadsheet that the company’s HQ is excited about.
On the other hand, if I were to pick up a cushion in an independent store – especially if they’re only just starting out – someone will appreciate not only the financial support for their business (as with larger companies) but they’ll know that their passion project – the little store they’re putting their time, love and energy into – is loved and appreciated by someone else too.
In booming, commercial cities like Birmingham that boast glitzy billboards and glamorous window displays, please remember that – if you dig a little deeper – you can find places to support real people (and, as a result, discover a great way to make capitalism feel a little less dirty).
So, without further ado, here is my guide to where to shop and eat independent in Birmingham!
Where to Shop
I’m just going to put this out there: Kin Home is my favourite store in the entire city.
As I’m sure you’re by now aware, I recently fell in love with Brighton for its endless array of Scandi-inspired homeware stores and galleries that make me want to take their entire stockroom home with me. Well, let me tell you – Kin Home fits exactly that bill and, if you’re based in Birmingham like me, it’s a lot more convenient to get to.
At just over six months old, Kin Home is completely and utterly current. From the moment you set foot in this miniature minimalist haven, every inch of their display will have you inspired to cleanse your mind, soul and home (and then refill it with their products).
The People Shop
Another of my go-to shops for a curated selection of lifestyle products is People.
People’s soft, muted aesthetic combined with their selection of delicate prints and gorgeous interior decor accessories makes for a beautiful store with a whole lot to offer.
Whether you’re in the market for a dreamy Pinterest board in the form of a lifestyle magazine, or storage that makes home organisation much more enjoyable, People is guaranteed to have the next level version of what you’re looking for.
If you’re in need of a detox or looking for the essentials for a pamper night in, Honest Skincare is a must. Not only do they create their products onsite (you can actually watch them do it!), but they offer treatments which use them!
Warning: when you’re picking up some nourishing hand cream to prepare for the cold months ahead, you’ll be too tempted by their menu of massages to leave right away!
Where to Eat
Three words: oh my coffee.
Once again, I’m going to say it like it is: Yorks is the home of the best coffee in Birmingham. I have tried dozens (no exaggeration) of coffee shops in this city and Yorks’ always comes in first place. Of course, this is according to how I personally like my coffee, but I’m 100% sure they’ll make a wonderful cup whatever your order!
Combining freshly baked sweet treats with freshly brewed hot drinks, Yorks is one of my favourite places to work outside of my apartment. Bonus: the staff are almost always either incredibly personable or absolutely hilarious (or both)!
To my knowledge, they’ve now got three branches across the city – one next to New Street Station, one in the IKON Gallery (another of my favourite places in Birmingham) and one by the Great Western Arcade (a beautiful and extremely underrated gem in the city centre).