Urban Makers

Ellie Good IllustrationDrawn Together Art CollectiveBrass+BoldJoey Ruthers Ben Rothery

Shopping local with Urban Makers

In 2015, two designer friends, Ilka Dickens and Julia Redgrove, founded Urban Makers in Bow. Building on their personal experiences as makers, Ilka and Julia went on to develop a vibrant, creative network where designers can tap into the strength of community.

After almost five years of markets, workshops, and pop-up shops, Urban Makers has become a key outlet for independent designers looking to sell their handcrafted goods – and a resource for those looking to buy. They host guest markets at Old Spitalfields Market, on the last weekend of the month and every Wednesday, and has appeared at events at Here East and Stylist Live, amongst others. And what’s more, Urban Makers launched an online marketplace in November 2018. They open their third pop-up shop in the heart of Shoreditch on March 4th featuring Elsa Gomez, Ben Rothery, Joe Ruthers and Tomartacus among many others.

Inspiration behind the brand
Ilka and Julia wanted to create a community of designer makers, bringing creators together in a social environment in which individual craftspeople can thrive. From homewares to art, clothing and accessories and stationery, Urban Makers guarantees buyers a large, eclectic line-up of designers united by a love of their craft.

Makers markets – the key to growth
Ilka and Julia held their first market in Christmas 2015, where handpicked local makers gathered at St Paul’s Church in Bow. The event was such a success that they decided to do another one. And another. More demand soon prompted a move to the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park, where they still host Spring and Christmas markets every year. They curated their first pop-up shop in Hackney in 2016 followed by a shop in Shoreditch in 2018.

Old Spitalfields Market came calling in Summer 2018 and asked them to curate a weekend makers market, filling over 25 of their stalls. They now host markets every Wednesday from 11 – 5pm.

They also host creative workshops on the mezzanine level overlooking the market, where the public can learn a craft and meet the makers.

Ethical and original products
Urban Makers looks for creative and original designs and, ideally, products that are handmade. If they are not handmade, products have to be made ethically and sustainably, preferably in the maker’s home country. If made elsewhere, they must be made with an environmental conscience, be fair-trade, both sweatshop- and cruelty-free and made in support of local communities.

Support for independent businesses
Urban Makers’ believe that Independent businesses are the lifeline of every community – and that small, independent businesses offer a different kind of care and quality in their product because their work is a reflection of themselves.

Shopping independent can also be an ethical choice – the company’s designers make products in small batches, use less or no single use plastic and don’t test on animals.

Buying from Urban Makers, whether online or at one of their events, looks like a win-win. Not only is it giving back to a local community by supporting that community’s independent businesses, it’s also contributing to a more ethical and sustainable economy. Not to mention acquiring an original and beautifully designed product.

7 Club Row, Shoreditch E1 6JX
From 4th March and runs through 27th May featuring over 40 local designers and makers selling everything from homewares, natural skincare, art, stationery, clothing accessories and more.

Opening times
Tuesday – Friday 11 – 6pm
Saturday 11 – 6pm
Sunday until 5pm

They will also be hosting workshops including punch needle, jewellery making and sketching. Workshop dates will be on their website soon.

Last weekend of every month and every
Wednesday 11 – 5pm

The Ecology Pavilion, Mile End Park
June 13th and 14th Applications open now.

More information can be found on the Urban Makers website.

Images courtesy of Urban Makers