‘The eye has to travel’ said fashion doyenne Diana Vreeland. And where better to take the eye than on a tour of Draper’s Yard. The creation of Chichester based entrepreneur Kay Mawer, owner of the Clothkits brand. Kay bought an old pub premises in 2012 to house the haberdashery and workshops. In 2016 she erected 13 sheds in the defunct pub garden to create a hub for small retail independents to encourage creatives and their talents.
Now, garden sheds and retail as a concept have already been road-tested at achingly trendy Dover Street Market, where one ‘permanent pop-up shed’ takes centre stage of the shop. Draper’s Yard is a whole village of sheds housing upwards of 20 different businesses. They are a delightfully eclectic mix with an ever changing offer: from art to textiles; coffee to hairdressing and jewellery to ceramics to name but a few. The Shedquarter ‘Yardies’ come either by the week, month or ad hoc day.
This is a funky little find away from the homogenized high-street and Mawer’s quest to foster new talent is realised at ‘The Test Shed’. Here fledging businesses have an opportunity to rent retail space a day at a time to research the market.
Insiders tip: if you find yourself in Chichester on a Saturday morning pop in to the market for a jam-spilling doughnut made that morning by Darrin the baker at The Hampshire Real Bread Co (every other Saturday).
Draper’s Yard Market & Studios
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 4pm