What do we love more than an independently owned store? An independent store that's stacked with other up-and-coming independents. As part of our Postcode Pioneer series that shines a light on small businesses, we're calling upon Florence Dixon of the expertly curated Tidy Street General Store to share with us her Brighton recommendations.
Inspired by the concept stores of Los Angeles, where windows display everything from neon signs to knitting, Florence Dixon (yes, the offspring of Tom Dixon) and her mother set about curating a space filled with treasures. Opting for quality over quantity, its rails swing with under-radar designers, marble countertops are laden with velvet slippers, and a small, gourmet corner is filled with enamelware and chocolate caviar. Forget supermarket sweeps, this is your one-stop-shop with class.
Here, Florence shares with us her slow-fashion tips, the practical but personal gifts we should be buying this year and where to take our four-legged friends in Brighton.
Hangover huevos rancheros, proper boozers and dreamy date nights: Brighton's best bits, according to Tidy Street General Store
Where are you from and how has that shaped your business?
Having decamped from London, I think that Brighton feels much friendlier. We wanted this to be reflected in our business, where customers receive a more personalised, relaxed treatment than they would in the big city. The casual, laid-back vibe of Brighton has also informed our decor and eclectic mix of products.
What was the inspiration behind Tidy Street General Store?
Tidy Street General Store grew out of a desire for a neighbourhood shop that sold everything, from a jar of jam to a pair of jeans; from French workwear to British-manufactured jewellery. It's a place where people could come and spend £2 or £200. We wanted to support and showcase small, independent brands, and promote an ethos of quality pieces made to treasure forever. Four years later, we hope we've stayed true to this brief: we still attract a wide range of customers, from students at the city's two universities to tourists from all over the world.
Share with us some of the stories behind some of the pieces you stock…
We are really excited to be stocking Cawley, a young British designer whose beautiful apparel is manufactured in the UK. Our French workwear comes from the same company, Vetra, that made the uniforms for the French Resistance. Sigil Scent is an incredible new gender-neutral fragrance line from LA, and we are so excited to be its first UK stockist.
What first drew you to this neighbourhood?
Brighton is a vibrant city known for its welcoming atmosphere and "anything goes" attitude. North Laine, in particular, is full of independent shops and rows of brightly coloured houses. We're proud of our inclusive community and of being the only UK constituency with a Green Party MP.
Describe the vibe of the neighbourhood…
Bright, independent, full of big characters and colourful personalities.
Where should we go in Brighton for our morning coffee?
Coffee at 33 on Trafalgar Street roasts its own beans, and you can take away or watch the world go by from its window seat.
And hangover breakfast?
Dough Lover, also on Trafalgar Street, serves the best breakfast and has something to please everyone - its options for vegans and coeliacs don't feel like an afterthought, but also has traditional options. Go there for the best huevos rancheros and homemade, fermented drinks.
What about somewhere for dinner with friends?
Cin Cin is a tiny italian restaurant where you can sit at the counter and enjoy deliciously simple homemade pasta. The ingredients are top-notch and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
What about on a date?
Visit the Royal Pavilion. Once the holiday home of the Prince Regent, it mixes Indian-inspired architecture with a very British eccentricity. Wander through the incredible rooms before a picnic in the picturesque gardens. If the date is going well, take a short walk to The Basketmakers Arms, a traditional Brighton pub, for a drink and a packet of crisps.
Where can we find Brighton's best fish and chips?
The Regency on Brighton's seafront has been unchanged for years. Enjoy your fish and chips on one of its outside tables overlooking the sea.
Where shall we go to buy a present?
Any other independents in the neighbourhood that you love to buy from?
The Crop on Sydney Street is a jewellery shop where you'll want one of everything; nearby Fold stocks beautiful womenswear. Wolf & Gypsy has the city's best edit of vintage clothing, while The Record Album - Brighton's oldest record shop - is our go-to for rare vinyl.
Any secret spots only locals know about?
Helm Ston, a tiny café with four seats where the friendly owner serves up delicious dahl and the hot chocolate of dreams. Dogs are welcome too! Avoid the main strip along Brighton beach where all the tourists congregate - walk east to Kemptown or west to Hove Lawns for a nicer beach experience.
Any tips on making our wardrobes more sustainable?
We really believe that buying pieces that you treasure forever is the best way to act sustainably. Fashion manufacturing is never truly "green" - there is always going to be an environmental impact. What is far more important is to buy less, but to buy quality pieces that you can wear time and time again. Fashion shouldn't be cheap; if people are being paid fairly all the way down the chain, then prices will reflect this. We should buy less and occasionally invest in pieces that we really love.
Finally, what should we buy from Tidy Street General Store?
For your friends, buy a Kure Bazaar nail polish made with 90-per-cent natural ingredients. For your significant other: recycled glasses from Le Verre Beldi, perfect for tea (or wine). Little ones will love the strawberry socks from LA-based Hansel from Basel. Not forgetting for your furry friends, of course. For them, we have fairtrade Maison Bengal baskets made from jute. And for yourself, a Dragon handwoven leather basket - far more stylish than a designer handbag and it gets better as the leather softens with age. On colder nights, we suggest indulging in our chocolate grissini while listening to a record from our collaboration with legendary Brighton shop The Record Album.