A shop opening in York city centre today (Wednesday) aims to provide a new retail experience, based around responsibly-sourced items which ‘spark joy’.
O+M Snowhome on Gillygate sees two existing independent retailers, Snowhome and Owl & Monkey, unite their values under one brand.
Husband and wife team Helen and Matt Harris ran Owl & Monkey on Heslington Road from 2017. The new store, based within the premises occupied by gift and homeware specialist Snowhome for many years, is designed to “help customers live better lives through the products they purchase”.
All the products, from homeware to stationery as well as special gifts and furniture, have been hand-selected to ensure that the makers and suppliers meet high ethical standards.
Helen said: “For us, shopping is much more than just the shop: it should be a place to connect and inspire.
“They should be collaborative, creative spaces that offer opportunities for makers and manufactures to grow as well as a place for individuals to explore and discover.”
Customers can make ethical choices too: Helen and Matt are keen that shoppers sign up to what they call ‘conscious consumerism’.
“When we buy items we will truly cherish, use, enjoy and love and when those items are built to endure and selected from manufacturers, makers and stores that share positive values; we believe it can be used for good, creating opportunities, creativity, community development and ideas,” Matt said.
“This is what we mean by conscious consumerism and we look forward to sharing that with our customers.”
The new proprietors of number 42 Gillygate are keen to build on the independent trading ethos of Snowhome, the well-known York shop that has been trading for over 19 years run by retailer and now premier ghost merchant, Angus McArthur.
“More than ever at this time, independent retail needs to draw upon a spirit of true independence.
“I’m both confident and comforted that Helen and Matt can and will build upon the foundations that I laid down at Snowhome and take the shop forward with passion into a very new era for the local High Street,” Angus said.
New delivery method
Retail was going through a tough time even before Covid-19, with many York shops closing.
But Helen and Matt are confident that their approach, forging lasting relationships with their customers, will enable O+M to thrive.
They promise new product ranges, regularly changing unique pieces from local and international makers.
And the pair are working on “an exciting new delivery method” for those living in the city that will allow people to travel to the store as well as having goods delivered directly to them.
Meanwhile safety measures in store include hand sanitiser and limits on the number of customers to ensure social distancing.
O+M Snowhome is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. More details on the website