Picture this : a Sustainable Department Store in Shoreditch

What a wonderful week!

Recounted by Jane.

Monday 10th Dec.

Team Blue Patch; the irrepressible Preeti, Natalia and Lee, plus Britney, Cameron and Holly worked alongside Blue Patch members, assembling flatpack furniture, excavating products from a sea of cardboard boxes and ‘merchandising’ like it was going out of fashion.

Out of fashion?

It’s the swansong of traditional bricks and mortar retail according to the report The Vanishing High Street (Bill Grimesy) and the latest .Gov report here. However we’re  doing something new and #BStore18 is the blueprint.

As a nation of shopkeepers and with a desire to get members together, team Blue Patch jumped headfirst into ‘pop-up’ to create a store with sustainable values, exceptional quality, lots of socialising, and activities.

Mandie (Beuzeval Design) and Eliza (Baines & Fricker). By Intherightlight Photography

Tuesday 11th #BStore18 looked the bee’s knees and by 6pm and the Awards and launch party was in full swing…

Buzzing at #BStore18. By Intherightlight Photography

The Store is open! By Nemo Roberts.

Denby on Blue Patch

The Denby table with Studio Blue. Flowers created by Carolyn Dunster. By Nemo Roberts.

Toys, Sally Nencini, wallpaper by Renn Designs and Positive News. By Nemo Roberts.

Our store seen from Bethnal Green Road. By Nemo Roberts

The Happy Shopper. By Nemo Roberts.

Congrats to our 2018 Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards winners and finalists.

A wonderful crowd gathered and there was much networking and good cheer. We celebrated the 2018 Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards, supported by Blue Patch Patrons Thrive Renewables and Naturesave.

Blue Patch Awards and patrons

Natalia (Remote Mission), Anna (Anna Jacobs Art), Matt (Naturesave) and Matthew (Thrive). By Nemo Roberts.

Thank you to our Patrons!

Naturesave is not only recognised as the UK’s no. 1 ethical insurance company but they have Blue Patch safely covered along with several of our members! Thrive Renewables offer opportunities for people to invest in clean energy projects. Owned by a community of over 6,000 investors it has a portfolio encompassing wind farms, hydro-electric and solar projects. We couldn’t hope for better Patrons.

The Blue Patch Awards 2018. By Nemo Roberts.

Derwent pencils ‘in action’ during Chantal Renn’s ‘Design your own wallpaper’ workshop. By Nemo Roberts.

Such kindness:

Thanks and massive cheer to Sonya from eco-cuisine, amazing chef and Founder of the new North London Sustainability Network. Her locally sourced food has a low carbon footprint and high tastiness factor and is produced in her kitchen in Enfield. Wholesome, delicious and polished off in no time at all!

London's most sustainable catering company


Also thanks to Redchurch Brewery for 100 bottles of Shoreditch Blond, our wellbeing supporters Pukka for calming teas, Rory Lemon for providing massage at the wellbeing breakfast,  Hotel School for their ‘in-store’ cafe with free cocktails and coffee, Youth Blogger Phoebe Rowe for Chairing the Green Breakfast. Denby for donating 30 beautiful Studio Blue mugs for zero kitchen waste, Bio D for ecologically friendly mug washing! Conscious Skincare and Cheeky Panda for mitts and noses, Kevin from eco-craft for supplying FSC recycled paper bags and VoidFill who lent their nestpack ring dispenser. James from Bouncepad for getting our tech display sorted,  photographers Alice and Anna from Intherightlight Photography and Nemo Roberts recorded the event. Goodies galore for the Award winners were given by Joy – Queen of Dachshunds at London Pooch, soothing witch hazel cream from Holtwood Herbs own medicinal woodland, colourful sketching books courtesy of Pink Pig from Barnsley and Positive News filling the store with great stories. Derwent gave us a magnificent prize – the limited edition pencil box, the artist’s dream!

Friends and members at the opening party. By Intherightlight photography

[foogallery-album id=”12337″]


Dean from Sittingfirm Ltd winning the Heritage Apprentice Award. By Intherightlight Photography.

We hosted breakfast events and weekend workshops throughout the week. Wednesday morning bright and early #BStore18 opened with Alex from Oliver-Boo. The Co-Active business coaching workshop was buzzing from start to finish and Alex had this to say afterwards  “What a pleasure to run my breakfast coaching mini workshop at BStore18 –  ‘Turning Problems into Opportunities’.  With the fantastic bunch of business people and entrepreneurs who came along, we saw how it is possible in just a short time to shift perspective and find new ways to tackle challenges, opening up more possibilities and choice.”  Alex is planning more coaching workshops for #BStore19 (she’s a brilliant coach, speaking from personal experience so watch out for this one!)

Seedball making. By Nemo Roberts.

Thursday saw our Youth Blogger Phoebe Rowe Chair the Green Breakfast with a lively discussion with Nadine from Refill London, a campaign to stop single use plastic bottles (we has a Refill London sticker on the store window so passers by know they could use our tap!), Eve from Bundlee, a circular economy baby-wear company, Alice and Thea from Real Nappies for London, fostering a culture of wash and re-use and Claire from Green Tomato Cars, a low emissions taxi service with a new hydrogen fleet and Zoe from Hotel School. The discussion was so good we’re going to do a blog about it!

Lunette installation. By Intherightlight Photography.

Light, Good + Original, Screen, Rowena Ardern, leather bag, Wolfram Lohr and blanket, Laura’s Loom. By Nemo Roberts.

Hotel School set up an ‘in-store’ cafe and treated visitors and members to free Christmas cocktails, ‘barista-made’ coffee and tasty fancies. Hotel School is supported by Extract Coffee and The Goring Hotel.

The Goring Hotel, Extract Coffee and Hotel School

Free Cocktails and barista coffee by the charity Hotel School, supported by the Goring Hotel and Extract Coffee.

Friday featured a talk by architects ‘Comfort & Joy – how to Retrofit your Home’. Based on their personal experience of ‘own home’ retrofits, the presentation by Natalie from Enbee Architecture + Design and Bob from PrewettBizley was well attended and something we’re going to build on for 2019.

Retrofit talk

Breakfast at #BStore18 talk ‘Comfort & Joy – How to Retrofit Your Home’ By architects Natalie Black from Enbee and Bob Prewett from PrewettBizley.

Rory Lemon ran his wellbeing drop-in on Thursday and Saturday with Anna Telman, providing massage for Blue Patch members and guests. Rory explained how the lymphatic system is helped by simple star jumping exercises. We need to get more people to Rory’s classes, he’s got amazing knowledge and the exercises really work – team Blue Patch star jump all day long at HQ.

Sustainable gifts galore. By Nemo Roberts.

The weekend say a range of workshops: Seedball making, design your own wallpaper with Renn Designs, Derwent and Pink Pig and wreath-making with Tregothnan Estates with Carolyn Dunster.

Wreath making.


Please come again….Natalia, Jane, Preeti and Lee. By Nemo Roberts

Juta. A portrait series of Blue Patch members. By Intherightlight Photography

Will we do it again? You bet!

#BStore19 hits the streets in March at the Whitworth, Manchester.  ‘Brexit or bust’…..the Blue Patch collective means business.

“I visited the Blue Patch Collective’s first ‘High St’ Sustainable Department Store in Shoreditch and discovered a blueprint for a new retail experience. Blue Patch is a shining example of how a collective of UK SMEs are working together to rebuild retail, filling the gaps left by conventional models. Socially engaging with free talks and creative workshops, the store highlighted the exceptional quality of products hot from the UK’s workshops, artisans and heritage manufacturers. I wish them luck on their journey to bring life back to the high streets across the country.”
Bill Grimsey is a former chief executive of Wickes and Iceland, author of The Grimsey Review and ‘Sold Out’. An astute commentator Bill is one of the UK’s leading experts on the High Street.

Bluehanded, a global impact member.