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The 2nd floor is a flourishing new(ish) business on Northgate street, run by Kimberley Anderson of ‘The Grunge Monkey’ and Carrie Hyndman of ‘Junkbox Apparel’. Both brands have been based around Chester/North Wales for the last 5 years and it’s good for us as customers to see ‘girls supporting girls’ in business! The space sports vintage finds, personal shopping, quirky bric’a’brac and crafty workshops. The floor oozes creativity and colour and influences customers of all ages to enjoy the little things that bring us all happiness. It’s based at The 2nd Floor, 19 A Upper Northgate Street, Chester, Cheshire CH14EE. Open 10-6 Tuesday through Saturday!

They’re more than just a shop and it’s so nice to see an independent space that has an outlet for creativity – ‘It’s a place to come and feel at ease, watch how we make our products, shop our unique range of products from local artists and creatives, shop our sustainable fashion range, have a go at  Oscars Bin of shizzz and giggles, secret book club and new secret film club’.

When I interviewed the owners both agreed their inspiration came from, ‘looking for somewhere local as a physical outlet for our own brands,’ Both have a strong customer base here in Chester and wanted somewhere to showcase their products. They’ve always loved the aesthetics of vintage shops & independent retail culture and wanted to offer something that was a combination of everything they love.

I first heard of the 2nd floor when I was shopping around for clothes. Nowadays we’re becoming more conscious of the dangers of ‘fast fashion’ and I noticed a sustainable fashion spread on 2nd Floor. I queried this further with the team who advised, ‘As brands we’re very aware of the issues with ‘fast fashion’ companies like Primark, selling clothes at throwaway prices. We strive to use the best fabrics, designing our products with longevity in mind.’

‘In addition to this, we added our Sustainable Fashion section to the shop to continue the lifespan of clothing that people may have just become bored of. We’ve often swapped clothes before between ourselves rather than throwing anything away. ‘There’s still life in the old girl yet’ that kind of thing!’ And this is music to my (and customers) ears as we all enjoy a vintage piece- one person’s rubbish is another’s treasure and I sure live by that!

My main reason for finally checking out The 2nd floor was because I was looking for an avenue to put my creativity into to. The space is not just a boutique but an independent events space for its customers. Working 9-5, maintaining a household, two kittens and a boyfriend is hard work! Popping in to art workshops little and often seems the best solution to manage my time and challenge myself to try new things.

2nd Floor offers workshops for all different types of craft, ages and abilities. It has ‘mum’ on-site who dabbles in all crafts and supports the workshops by being in the thick of it and suggesting ideas and techniques to improve your work. Croche, felting, knitting and jewellery are just some of the techniques you can have the chance to learn or continue to improve.

I wanted to try a workshop for myself. I decided the wall hangings and dreamcatcher workshop was right up my street as I love the history behind dream catchers and have a bare wall in my reading corner which needs to be filled.

Task set, I finally visited the venue itself! So quirky and colourful you can’t help but browse in search of more accent pieces and marvellous menageries. I found a vintage blouse in a  cool print just wandering into the entrance. Mix matched chairs were set up in a circle around two tables covered in drinks, snacks and crafts. Feathers and beads of all types with wires, wood and materials, especially yarn… rounds and rounds of yarn! The owners sat us down and offered us brews whilst we got chatting and sharing our experiences of crafting. Most were novices like myself, a few were veteran. A lot of passing of scissors and a couple of stolen ideas later we got into the swing of things.

The night itself was a barrel of laughs and I learnt how to make pompoms which is a truly handy skill that shall forever be evidenced in my home (and now by my protege boyfriend). I brought my wall hanging home and it has pride of place in my cosy corner. I want to check out their 2nd Floor Christmas Dec’s Workshop next and really personalise our first christmas in our new home. Movie nights are also on the cards – who doesn’t love a Christmas movie marathon?

I really do you recommend taking a trip up there and experiencing one of their workshops for yourselves. I’m also going to try the secret book club, just £2 a book and a little clue is written on the packaging- select your parcel and it reveals your next read! I love this concept as it takes me longer to select a text than actually read it sometimes. Take a little browse of their upcoming workshops on their Facebook page here.

Upcoming workshops include Halloween Scented Pumpkins & Wreaths

Patchwork Quilting workshop

Hand-crafted Silver jewellery workshop