For many years now I have been opting for buying locally produced products, be that fashion, beauty and even beer! I’m incredibly proud of my Northern, coastal roots of Cleethorpes and Grimsby and what was once a genuine dive has had hundreds of pop-ups, boutiques and much more in the past few years. Growing up I can’t say I was incredibly loyal to this place, it was left to run into the ground, but I wasn’t alone. Many people from my schooldays are now really making a name for themselves in local business. People may have gone off to uni and realised we were more than a little behind times and bought back a passion for staying with the trends, it’s clear to see locals don’t want to see their town in ruin anymore and are adamant to showcase some of our beautiful heritage. I don’t live there anymore, but I couldn’t be more proud to tell people where I am from, and even better…show them.
Buying local supports your community, it supports small business owners who want their passion to fund their life rather than money going into the pockets of big corporations. And it’s not just the one retailer you’re buying from, ofter small business owners use other independent creators for artwork, marketing and more. I’ve genuinely seen my town thrive since smaller businesses opened up and my visits home now are always amazing and never frequent enough! Today i’m going to introduce you to some of my favourite local businesses from my town which I have purchased from many times for myself and this year for Christmas gifts! Hopefully you will see something you enjoy, and I hope it encourages you to also support local businesses and creators.
Founded in 2018 docks beers is a brewery which takes inspiration from Grimsbys most known heritage trade of fishing. It branched out to ‘docks academy’ however events have been put on hold throughout covid. They managed to adapt throughout Lockdown and hosted a few ‘drive in’ cinema experiences which I was gutted I couldn’t attend!
They often pair up with independent eateries that cater to a variety of people. Their vegan jackfruit tacos and steins of homemade Docktoberbier was sincerely one of the highlights of this year. Sure their in-house experience is great but you’re probably wondering how a brewery is on a Christmas gift guide right? Well let me tell you…
A trip home is now not complete without a trip to docks, trying out a new beer and buying one of their signature beanies! (I currently have 4 and they just released an orange that I am dying to pick up along with their new hoodie!) They also sell pretty much all of their home brewed beers in cans and mini-kegs to take away, the perfect gift for any beer or cider lover! I purchased a set of 3 signature beers with ‘hard graft’ glasses for a friend for Christmas last year and will be picking some more up this year.
One of my favourite things about Docks is their community involvement from live shows with local acts, teaming up with food wagons and my absolute favourite, their artwork done all commissioned by a local artist and heavily featuring parts of Grimsbys history. The staff are also incredibly passionate and everytime I go in I’ve always had a chat with a staff member about new beers, merch and more.
If you are from anywhere in the area it’ll be hard for you to have not heard of this well established brand! Starting out way back when I was in school i’m sure (2004 to be precise), they cater to the skate/bmx crowd which is so big in the area. I have fond memories of GYPO fest (a local skate festival) being sponsored by them. They were always the place you could go for alternative and on trend clothing, shoes and more that no other shop locally supplied. I love that they stuck to bringing this style to a relatively small community and now it’s grown so big and overtaken the area. I’ve taken friends home and they’ve remarked how its such an ‘alternative’ scene up there and not like what is portrayed in news etc and I think Forw4rd is one of the places to thank for that.
They have started to release their own branded merch and I am IN LOVE! Their latest range in Japanese water inspired. (A common theme for a seaside town but such an alternative take!) I’ve had two t-shirts from them in the past personally and bought more for friends. Even though the majority of their clothing is typically seen for males I wear what is comfortable, and stylish to me, so that doesn’t bother me at all.I think my next purchase is going to have to be a hoodie for these winter months
Oh also they’re one of the ONLY places to actually sell the Nike Nyjah range and if you know anything about me it’s my love for trainers! This is topping my Christmas list for myself this year so if they have a size 6 then i’m adding to my basket immediately!
Northerner on the Run
My oldest friend Sarah introduced me to her friends clay earring range and at first I thought ‘these are cute, you look amazing in them but I don’t really do “cute” – damn I was wrong! I ended up purchasing two pairs myself and love the different styles that she is starting to bring out. I felt like my style couldn’t quite pull them off at first but they really are so universal and also well made. You can tell so much when someone cares and has put the effort into making quality products. NOTR has started to branch out into Jesmonite homeware and I’m so excited to see what else is launched!
Made by Gee
Sarah is the queen of finding Cleethorpes crafters and she has gifted many Made by Gee scrunchies to myself and my friends this past year. They’re so bright and bold and make such a statement. I love that I can buy thing’s i’d never really think of buying as they’re so unique, you wouldn’t walk through a high street store and see these types of styles.
I just purchased 4 more, the orange velvet one is one i’ve had my eye on for a few months so I’ll be hiding that one away for myself. I’ll be wrapping a few up for my niece this Christmas and one for my friend down south!
Original Emporium is home to many local designers. NOTR and Made by Gee above are featured there! As are some old college classmates and many more. I think it’s such a good idea to have a permanent shop open that is pretty much all local makers but not limited to a makers market as they’re usually specific days and frankly usually days I work! The have everything from Jewellery to Home decor, Plants to Paintings. Theres something for every style and you can rest easy in knowing you’re supporting local creators with unique ideas.
Mothers day afternoon tea was our final ‘outing’ before lockdown really hit. In fact we had to pack it up and have it at home but wow it was amazing! Sometimes it is tough to buy for people who have everything they need and ‘experiences’ are a great way to give something thoughtful and memorable. I take my mum to Riverhead for breakfast every time I’m home and usually grab a slice of cake for us for that evening. I’ll always choose a local cafe over a chain as their food is usually fresher and better quality ingredients. If we’re lucky enough to enjoy Christmas with the family this year i’ll be taking my mum there for another beautiful afternoon tea.
Well I hope that gave you some ideas for Christmas presents. I absolutely love all of the makers and businesses above and if you purchase anything from them let me know what it was! At the very least I hope this encourages you to look into more local businesses, now more than ever. Supporting smaller businesses feeds back into your local economy and I’ve seen first hand how that helps your area improve, and frankly with covid if you’re in a fortunate enough position to be able to spend, spend local!