home Go Small but mighty: Edinburgh’s independent retailers

Small but mighty: Edinburgh’s independent retailers

coco chocolatier logo frontSMALL
© Coco Chocolatier

 

Words: Caoilfhionn Maguire

Edinburgh’s streets are lined with world-renowned retailers and designers, swarmed daily by tourists and locals alike, but where are the independent retailers and designers who don’t have the spotlight of Princes Street shining upon their doorsteps? At Buzz we believe in community spirit and discovering the slices of the Edinburgh that could easily, and tragically, be overlooked; and so we’ve taken an excursion to expose and celebrate some of our favourite independent retailers and designers in the city.

 

Coco Chocolatier

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© Coco Chocolatier

174 Bruntsfield Pl. & 71 Broughton Street

 

Established in 2004 as one of Scotland’s first chocolatiers, the company has developed from its small, specialist Chocolate Kitchen in Summerhall, to having a collection of chic stores dotted across the city, in Bruntsfield, Broughton and Stockbridge. Coco is an artisan chocolatier specialising in making ethically traded, organic and, most importantly, delicious chocolate. Using only the finest of ingredients and a single origin chocolate from Dominican Republic, Coco aims to invent well-balanced and surprising flavours, boasting lovely textures and luxurious cocoa richness.

Everyone can relish in the Coco experience as Coco offer a range of vegan and gluten-free chocolates, as well as chocolate making classes.

Visit the site to buy your treats, book your class or simply to just tickle your taste buds – http://www.cocochocolate.co.uk

What inspired you to make your product?

A combination of Scandinavian design and Belgian chocolatiering. I wanted to make chocolate that would be equally exquisite in flavour and beautifully presented. I’m a bit obsessed with colours and patterns. My friends know that I’m a big Moomin mug collector.

Where do you source your materials?

Coco uses single origin chocolate from Dominican Republic to make all the bars and truffles. We buy it from small cooperatives of farmers to be as ethical as possible. The spices are sourced from Scotland whenever possible. We have a lovely Isle of Skye in many of our recipes as well as Artisan Roast coffee bar to name just a few.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Staying on top of things! The business had grown quite a lot in the last few years and managing a team of creative chocolatiers that want to develop new products while trying to meet production deadlines can be quite challenging at times. Luckily we get along well. It’s hard to lose your nerve when you are surrounded by beautifully smelling chocolate bunnies!

What do you think makes you stand out as a brand?

I would like to think that attention to detail is our strongest asset. The chocolate is consistently delicious and beautifully tempered while the packaging makes it stay fresh and crisp. The final product is a delight for anyone who loves real chocolate. Plus it is hand-crafted in Summerhall, Edinburgh.

How would you sum up your target customer?

Someone who loves authentic, full of flavour, good quality chocolate. It is a locally-minded individual that would choose a small business over a global chain of supermarkets while shopping. A person that cares for themselves and others, wants to have a treat but without artificial additives or preservatives in it. Anyone who knows the difference between good and bad food.

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© Coco Chocolatier

What do you love about your business?

I really love the creativity of the Coco Team and how exciting it can be to develop and reshape the business. The excitement of change and evolving as a brand gives me wings.  

Do you feel supported by the Edinburgh community?

Being based in a place such as Summerhall is a real opportunity to work with some of the most talented independent producers in Edinburgh. Coco has been very lucky to be a part of the Summerhall hub. We’ve been inspired and supported by many community members in here. Recently after opening a shop in Stockbridge, we’ve realised just how friendly and community-minded people are.

Is this something you’ve always seen yourself doing?

I always wanted to run a company, so Coco was just the perfect opportunity to put my skills to work. The chocolate was the surprise factor but I quickly learned to love it and became a chocolate geek who now travels to research the European craft of chocolatiering. 

Does your store/product/business give back to the community, and if so, how?

We support local charities giving out vouchers of a total value of £90 per month for projects that we find important. Most of all, we hand-craft beautiful, chemical-free chocolate for the people of Edinburgh.  

What is it about Edinburgh that made you want it to be the home of your product/business?

Back in 2004, when the business was starting, there was a shortage of chocolatiers in Edinburgh and bringing an organic, hand-crafted chocolate to the capital of Scotland seemed like a brilliant idea. Now as we have more competitors on the market we try to come up with new delicious ideas taking inspiration from Edinburgh’s rich heritage.  

Is there anything distinctly ‘Edinburgh’ about your product/business?

Our heart is here. Every single Coco product is made and hand-wrapped in here. That’s why we are proud to put “Edinburgh” on all our bar labels.

 

The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co.

The EDINBURGH BOW TIE Co
© The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co.

The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co., founded in 2012, designs a collection of playful bow ties for the modern-day gentleman-or-woman who appreciates the old-fashioned aesthetic. With a studio based in Stockbridge, the creative team behind these debonair bow ties is committed to styling the male, and female, populace of the Capital. From tartan to silk, vintage styling to lighthearted cartoon prints, cufflinks to pocket squares, and even the chance to create your own bespoke design, The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co. believes everyone should have a bow tie around their neck and a selection in their wardrobe.

Search on site for where to purchase your newest fashion fetish – www.edinburghbowtie.co.uk

 

What inspired you to make your product?

It was the lovely bar staff of Edinburgh that were the ‘inspiration’. After working in hospitality for many years, I was trying to do something creative in my spare time. My partner, who works in a bar, asked me to make him a bow tie, and then more and more of our bartender friends wanted one too. It grew from there.

Where do you source your materials?

Our fabric suppliers are all British! The tartans are from Strathmore Woollen Mill, Scotland. Our tweeds are from Marton Mills in Yorkshire. Our patterned cottons and silk, we design ourselves and have them digitally printed in Cheltenham.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Taking a break.

What do you think makes you stand out as a brand?

We’ve a very niche brand, offering high quality, luxury items that are handmade in Edinburgh. Our aim is to provide a varied and interesting range of bow ties and accessories for the modern gentleman. Our made-to-order service is also what makes us stand out. We offer a complete design service with no minimum order, for those who are after a entirely bespoke item.

How would you sum up your target customer?

Anyone can wear a bow tie!

What do you love about your business?

It’s challenging, but very rewarding.

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© The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co.

Do you feel supported by the Edinburgh community?

Very much. Edinburgh people seem to love to support local businesses when they can. It helps that we have ‘Edinburgh’ in our name of course.

Who’s your favourite independent retailer in Edinburgh?

Our studio is based in Stockbridge, so we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to indie retailers.

Is this something you’ve always seen yourself doing?

Not specifically making bow ties, no… I had always hoped to earn a living from something creative though.

What is it about Edinburgh that made you want it to be the home of your product/business?

The business grew out of Edinburgh, I can’t imagine it would have happened anywhere else.

 

Red Door Gallery

Nicky Brooks The Red Door Gallery
© The Red Door Gallery

42 Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Poised prominently on the beautiful winding, cobbled Victoria Street, in Edinburgh’s Old Town, Red Door Gallery is not just a store, it’s been credited as “one of Edinburgh’s most varied and interesting art spaces”, celebrating its twelfth year as an art gallery.  Stocking a large selection of art prints from over 100 illustrators, adorning the walls of the cosy store alongside designer products, fashion accessories, knitwear, unique home wares, crafty jewellery and kitsch greetings cards, Red Door honours the most exciting talent emerging from Scotland and the UK and is brimming with loveliness.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

The toughest part of this job is also the part that makes it the most enjoyable! A lot of my office duties are carried out on the gallery floor, meaning the less exciting paperwork is constantly interjected with wonderful conversations about art work!

What do you think makes you stand out as a brand?

The talented and professional body of artists, illustrators and designers we work with. Their sense of joy, fun and creativity keeps the gallery as interesting and unique as they all are.

How would you sum up your target customer?

Cheery folks who like to shop with style and heart.

What do you love about your business?

The people I work with behind the red doors, the beautiful makers we support and the lovely loyal community of customers.

Do you feel supported by the Edinburgh community?

Yes, we collaborate regularly with local businesses including Under The Stairs bar and The National Museum of Scotland. All the businesses on Victoria Street and The Greater Grassmarket Area look out for each other. It’s a charming community to be part of.

Who’s your favourite independent retailer in Edinburgh?

Walker Slater.

Does your store/product/business give back to the community, and if so, how?

See above and every year we donate to a local charity.

Is there anything distinctly ‘Edinburgh’ about your product/business?

We love working with the Edinburgh College of Art Students and supporting their future careers. We have a wide range of Edinburgh themed art works that are a little different from the expected takes on the city. Have a look on our online shop!

 

Broaden your collection of comely prints and quirky accessories, while keeping up to date with their art blog on their site – http://www.edinburghart.com

 


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