MerseyMade is calling on artists, makers and the general public alike to support a creative revolution in the North West, following its recent opening in Liverpool city centre.
The newly established venture houses 10 open-plan studios for residents to practice their craft and sell their products in addition to an on-site shop, café and events room, which has capacity for 20 guests for a meeting, 24 for workshops and 40 for private functions.
Owner and founder of MerseyMade Vicky Gawith has transformed former restaurant, The Chancery, into a 4,295 sq. ft creative space spanning two floors, giving visitors the opportunity to meet the makers for a one-of-a-kind experience that allows shoppers to peruse the studios and see the artists in action.
Vicky said: “We are big believers in buying locally and supporting regional businesses and we hope that this concept will be a catalyst for creativity, encouraging people to go back to traditional means of buying and selling handmade goods. With commercially driven conglomerates changing the way that consumers behave, it’s refreshing to be able to work with individuals who care about their customers and strive for that personal interaction that makes the overall shopping experience much more bespoke and memorable.”
With an all-female team at the helm, alongside Vicky, MerseyMade is led by Creative and Retail Manager Jenny Dunlop, Café Manager Emma Johnston and Head Chef Yasmin Limbert, a former Great British Bake-Off quarter finalist.
Jenny said: “With a total of 10 open-plan studios upstairs, we already have some impressive residents from artists and illustrators to textile experts to name a few. We are always happy to meet new creatives interested in joining the MerseyMade family. In addition to the studios we have a café, an events space and a shop, where we are showcasing over 60 creatives from across the Merseyside region, constantly adding new and exciting items every week. Everything that we sell is sourced locally, within a 50-mile radius of our Liverpool home.”
The café, named after the Gordon Smith Seaman’s Institute, formerly located within Chancery House, will serve a menu including traditional Scouse and a vegan alternative, homemade fish finger sandwiches, and a variety of popular toasties as well as loaded fries and halloumi fries. It also offers an assortment of freshly made cakes available daily, with gluten free and vegan options.
The café’s namesake dates back to the end of the nineteenth century when the building was used as purpose-built accommodation for seamen arriving at Liverpool’s ports, and as a place to help seafarers and their families in difficult circumstances.
Emma said: “Our Gordon Smith café is a lovely relaxed space in its own right and offers a menu of locally sourced produce and homemade cakes by our head chef Yasmin. The idea behind our food and drinks offering is to provide a place for shoppers, tourists and local people to escape the busyness of the city and enjoy delicious food and coffee within a unique, art-filled environment. In a bid to support local and independent suppliers, the café has partnered with the likes of Neighbourhood Coffee Roasters, Brew Tea, Black Lodge Brewery, Love Lane and Glen Affric.”
Yasmin added: “I am incredibly proud to be a part of the team at MerseyMade, working alongside some of the city’s most creative people to build something that the North West hasn’t seen before. It was important that our food menu reflected the artistic nature of MerseyMade, which is why I’ve really put my heart into producing dishes that are full of flavour at a reasonable price point.”
With local businesses in mind, the venue also includes an impressive meeting and events space, fully fitted with a licensed bar and audio-visual facilities, doubling up as an area for people to take part in workshops and courses, enabling them to create things themselves. As well as hosting private functions, MerseyMade will host its own ticketed events throughout the year combining artistry with interactive activities, food and drink.
Vicky added: “The idea behind MerseyMade was always to connect artists 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 and as part of this new venture, we will be putting local people at the forefront, and at the heart of what we do.
“Whether people in the region are after a work of art or a specially commissioned piece, they will find something in here to suit their needs. Our space is beautifully designed and offers an alternative to the high street and with the addition of our on-site café, MerseyMade is a fantastic place for anyone visiting from the North West and beyond.
“More than anything, at MerseyMade we hope to offer buyers peace of mind in the knowledge that they are directly supporting the livelihood of some of our region’s most talented individuals.”