New Norwich lifestyle store Atwin opens
- Credit: Danielle Booden
When it came to finding a name for their new shop in Norwich’s Bridewell Alley, Bonnie Doonan and Sarah Brown discovered the perfect answer very close to home.
The store is a beautifully curated marketplace of fashion, cosmetic and lifestyle brands, many of which are based in Norfolk, and they wanted the name to have its roots in the county.
By coincidence the pair, who have been friends since first school, came across the same word on a Norfolk dialect website, and instantly agreed that it fitted the bill perfectly.
“We wanted something that means something and 'atwin' is an old Norfolk word which means between,” says Bonnie.
As well as reflecting that it’s a collaboration between the two long-time friends, it is also a nod to their ethos, and that they want Atwin Store to become a community.
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“We thought that it had a nice meaning behind it,” says Sarah.
Bonnie is a jewellery maker - she runs the minimalist brand Studio Adorn - and Sarah is founder of the clothing brand Harwood, which focuses on creating considered capsule wardrobe pieces, designed and made to be worn for years.
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At the beginning of the year, the pair talked about how it would be nice to have a shop together one day.
An idle look on RightMove later (“my hobby,” laughs Bonnie), they spotted the premises in Bridewell Alley, right in the heart of the city’s creative quarter, and the project was serendipitously coming together.
“We weren’t actively looking for somewhere,” says Sarah.
“There wasn’t much planning. But we felt like this was the right space,” says Bonnie.
And around six months from their first conversation they opened their doors to customers on July 2.
The ground floor is a showcase for independent brands from across Norfolk and some of their favourites from around the UK, with many of the products made by hand.
“We wanted to be a platform for lots of smaller makers,” says Bonnie.
“With lots of things only online, we wanted to bring back the physical side of shopping.”
“To bring back how shopping used to be, in a way that works for 2021,” says Sarah.
“People seem to be more interested in this way of shopping, of making more considered purchases.”
And in time the first floor will become home to Sarah’s studio and, working towards creating Atwin Store’s own community, they hope to host events such as makers’ markets, creative workshops and yoga sessions.
The Norfolk brands that Atwin Store is stocking include Sop Life cosmetics, The Chemist’s Daughter, whose products include organic reusable make-up wipes, recycled cotton cord and reclaimed leather statement jewellery by Form Norfolk, plastic-free, vegan and 95 per cent organic lipsticks by Juni Cosmetics and jewellery by Kano Kano.
They also sell ceramics by Sarah Horlock, Eleanor Torbati and by.noo, handcrafted useful objects such as brushes by Slow Made Goods and synthetic dye-free dried flowers by Pulvertoft flowers, which are grown on the Norfolk/Lincolnshire border.
And there are prints by Verity Burton, Lydia Ellen and Norfolk illustrations by Studio Eilidh.
Many of the brands stocked have sustainability at their core.
Norwich activewear brand Gaurdi’s garments are made from recycled plastic, Pico Goods make organic and fairtrade cotton underwear and Holt-based Norfolk Natural Living specialises in small-batch, plant-based cleaning products.
And lighting by Norwich-based Collectiviste gives back by supporting families in Bali where their products are made.
Plus they are stockists of AK Threads, which makes clothing to order, textiles by Ding Ding, organic yoga mats by Yoga Matters, blankets by Luks Linen, leather accessories by Kles and soy wax candles and botanical skincare by Our Lovely Goods.
And the fixtures and fittings for the shop were also made locally, by JJ Woodworking, Dog House Design and Quanstrom Studio.
Many of the makers drop their goods off in person, which is already creating the feeling of community that Bonnie and Sarah had hoped for.
“And we have had a wonderful welcome from our neighbours,” says Bonnie.
Atwin Store is in Bridewell Alley. Follow them on Instagram @atwinstore