Located inside the Chancery Building is a secret oasis, offering a tranquil, yet vibrant space for shoppers, artists, businesses or passers-by to enjoy within Liverpool city centre. This building is home to the recently established MerseyMade – an eclectic venue that houses 10 artists’ studios alongside a retail space, selling locally sourced goods all from a 50-mile radius of the city. With everything from jewellery to honey and gin, through to bespoke artwork, greetings cards and crafts, MerseyMade is a haven for creatives and those who are looking for that special something with a personal touch, so we couldn’t resist finding out more about the women behind MerseyMade.
Founder Vicky Gawith is Liverpool born, has a background in business, fundraising, and the charitable sector, and is passionate about helping to build and support local communities. She decided to team up with friends who are other inspirational women from the region, to turn MerseyMade from a creative vision into a reality.
Vicky said: “The idea behind MerseyMade has been to connect artisans with the general public and businesses as part of a modern, innovative concept that we hope will reignite the region’s love for crafts and creativity. With everything so accessible online, it’s easy to lose sight of the creatives behind the products. As part of this new venture, we will be putting local people at the forefront, and at the heart of what we do. Every time you walk through our door and make a purchase, you will be directly supporting someone in our local community.”
At the helm of MerseyMade’s diverse retail offering is creative & retail manager Jenny Dunlop, who utilises her natural artistic flair to look after the studio’s varied artists and the products within the shop. An established artist in her own right, Jenny has been instrumental in helping to devise a space that not only helps to spark creativity in others but offers a practical solution for independent artists seeking an environment to both work and sell.
The idea behind the space is to allow artists to work in the company of their customer – an interaction that is often overlooked in the wider world of retail. The open plan studios allow guests to get in among the makers with bespoke commissions also available.
After an afternoon of shopping and perusing the plentiful works of art, visitors can grab a table at The Gordon Smith Café – its onsite eatery that prides itself in offering hearty, comforting plates and delicious homemade cakes, created fresh daily. The café has already established a loyal following thanks to chef Yasmin Limbert and café manager Emma Johnston.
A former restaurant manager at a large nationwide chain, Emma ditched the industry in pursuit of her passion and established her own business. Having worked as a textile artist and greetings card designer, she has now combined her love of art and her career history in the food industry to lead the way when it comes to MerseyMade’s culinary offer.
To fit with MerseyMade’s concept, Emma is passionate about using locally sourced products within the café, which delivers a warm, relaxed environment that focuses on customer service and above all else fantastic food.
The Gordon Smith Café is certainly not short of fantastic food, courtesy of chef Yasmin Limbert.
Having been an independent baker and caterer for over a decade, Yasmin holds the title of WI Cook of the Year as well as being a Great British Bake Off quarter finalist.
Inspired by the dynamic and eclectic community within Merseyside, Yasmin has devised a menu that combines traditional homely dishes such as Scouse alongside the likes of the Fish Finger Butty – a firm favourite with returning customers. With an assortment of veggie and vegan dishes (and cakes) available, guests will be spoilt for choice.
MerseyMade is a refreshing concept within the city centre, with a creative and diverse style that plays on the individual strengths of each of the women involved while uniting them in their shared passion for encouraging creativity through a community driven approach.
For more information, please visit www.merseymade.uk