Around 50 indy businesses selling an eclectic mix of homewares, gifts and more at The Emporium Somerset in Wellington
The word ’emporium’ conjours up the image of a place packed with all sorts of delights – and that pretty much describes The Emporium Somerset. Cato Cooper has brought together an eclectic mix of around 50 independent designers, makers and traders in a converted Victorian chapel in Wellington, selling everything from upcycled furniture, new and vintage homewares and lighting, through handmade clothes, bags and jewellery to beauty products. Did I mention they won Somerset’s Best Gift Shop in this year’s Muddy Stilettos Awards? Christmas shoppers, at the ready….
The Emporium’s spread over three floors, with an Autentico paint shop amongst the traders on the ground floor. In case you don’t know it, Autentico chalk paint is an easy-to-use, chemical-free paint that you can use on most surfaces without the need to prime beforehand (brilliant news for corner cutters like me).
Painted clogs showing the chalky colours are a nice touch (Cato’s Dutch). Come to browse or buy everything you need for your project, get some inspiration or advice, bring in a piece of furniture to be upcycled or join one of Cato’s regular paint workshops.
The space is divided into little units, each housing an different independent small business. Around 70 per cent of what you’ll find here is produced or sourced in the West Country – mostly from Somerset, some from Devon or Cornwall – so it really is local. The rest is Fairtrade, British made or vintage. Everything’s very reasonably priced. Just follow the red wooden road…
So here are a few of my faves. First up, Mouse House Interiors, which does what it says on the tin. Love the candlesticks, candelabras and soft chunky throws with huge pompoms.
I want this leaping deer (£48), though I nearly ran over a real one on the way home yesterday.
Over at Bird, designer/maker Jeanette Crawford gets her inspiration from mid-century patterns and colours to create retro-themed jewellery, cushions, bags, collectables and small pieces of furniture.
There are original artworks and prints, urban lighting, furniture made from reclaimed wood, toys for kids, vintage bits and bobs, handmade baskets on this floor … and yet more shops up on the next.
Susie Thomas of Rocket & Co rescues old maps, stamps, sheets of music and books from charity shops and carboots and then painstakingly hand cuts to create unique, multi-layered pictures in her Taunton studio. No two pictures are the same. She’ll also take on commissions.
Need a runner for your hallway? Wellington-based Fleetwood Fox have plenty – beautiful flatweave rugs and runners made from 100 per cent pure wool. The wool comes from New Zealand, is spun and dyed in Yorkshire and designed and woven here in Somerset. The rugs and runners are made from remnants, so they’re incredibly cheap – the runner I have my eye on was reduced from £545 to £167. Stock changes constantly.
Crump & Co, at the top of the Emporium, sells gifts andhomewares – and some rather nifty scarves and little cardies (virtually giving them away at £14.95).
Also on my Christmas list: table and bench made from reclaimed wood with metal hairpin legs (for me); clutch (for me); quirky industrial light (me again) and a cute hand-knitted horse on wheels (it’s not all about me).
The Emporium Somerset is open seven days a week, including Bank Holidays. Mon–Sat 10am–4.30pm & Sun 11am–3.30pm. Handily, you can park free for an hour right outside.
See for yourself: there’s a special Late Night Christmas Shopping Evening on Thurs 2 November, from 6pm–8pm. Along with free mulled wine and mince pies and the chance to get most of your Christmas shopping done in one hit, you can help support Silver Line, a charity running a free and confidential, 24-hour helpline for older people.
The Emporium Somerset, Mantle Street, Wellington, TA21 8AR. Tel 01823 660076 theemporiumsomeset.co.uk