The colour of the earth. A rich, dark, peat brown, evoking leather, wood and even chocolate. We always find ourselves drawn to this colour; its depth has a graphic quality like black, but with a warmer, more natural feel. We even fantasise about opening a shop where all the products are brown!
We have selected fifteen products which embody the Labour and Wait ethos, which we will feature here each week for 15 weeks. These items have been present in our offer since the very beginning.
We believe that they are as essential today as they were back then; timeless products that are forever useful.
We celebrated our fifteenth anniversary in style on Thursday 2nd of July.
Getting the final touches on our window display sorted.
Looking good from the outside...
Staff preparing the playlist for the evening. Those Swedish bucket bags make perfect vinyl carrying vessels!
The booklets produced showing our inspirations, philosophy and products, since 2000.
A thoroughly engaging read; Alfred here, our supplier of handmade wooden bath racks, only wishes he'd been supplying us earlier so he could've featured!
Food and drink flowing. Simon at the back pointing out something on the pegboard that has gone wonky.
Rachel and Simon receive a cake for all their hardwork over the last 15 years. Happy Anniversary Labour and Wait!
From the outset, there was only one typeface in our minds for Labour and Wait: Gill Sans.
These classic letterforms were designed by Eric Gill and first appeared around 1928. For us, Gill Sans perfectly embodies a graphic simplicity; clear, informative and timeless. Naturally, our choice was influenced by the iconic covers of the first Penguin books.
Gill Sans was also widely used for industrial supply catalogues from the 1930s through to the 1950s, which we enjoy collecting. In addition, we appreciate traditional stationery such as rubber stamps, embossed cards and school exercise books. We like to reference all this material in our branding.
Our goods come from many different sources. We endeavour to search out specialist makers who in many cases manufacture products to the original deigns, using traditional methods.
Our suppliers range from highly skilled individual craftspeople - like rope work Des Pawson or Sussex trig maker Robin Tuppen - to small family-run workshops such as R. Russell, brush makers. We also work with larger factories like Riess Kelomat in Austria, but this again is a family business. More recently, we have begun collaborating with our makers to develop products which are exclusive to Labour and Wait. It is a real pleasure and privilege to work with these companies and hopefully to ensure the continuity of traditional industries.
We stock vintage items too, always carefully selected. Again, these are objects which have a timeless quality, but all must be fit for use, not just for display. We keep a constant lookout for favourites like stoneware marmalade jars or Lovatts coffee pots, which sadly are no longer made.
"Fifteen years ago, I made the pilgrimage to Labour and Wait - seeking out the first shop in Cheshire Street on a busy market Sunday - and since then, barely a month has gone without a return visit, to admire the magnificent displays of hardware.
It always raises a smile to wonder at the heroic arrangements of everyday objects, but I realise now that it has been an education too - Labour and Wait has taught me an appreciation of both the poetry and the humour of these modest household goods.
If, like me, you seek perfection in small things - shiny kettles, enamel pots and pans, galvanised buckets and watering cans, proper bristly brushes and balls of string - Labour and Wait will never disappoint you."
The Gentle Author, Spitalfields
Labour and Wait is 15 years old today.
Our aim from the start has been to offer a selection of simple, functional products for daily lie, which not only 'do the job' but look great as well. It had become increasingly difficult to find good-quality 'undesigned' articles, which by their very nature do not date. In fact, we believe such objects actually improve with age as they develop a patina through use.
This philosophy, which has always guided our choice of household products, applies no less in other categories. Classic practical clothing, for example, has been part of Labour and Wait since we began - from striped Breton shirts to genuine Guernsey sweaters.
We aim to source or create products which have a universal appeal and are not bounded by age or gender. In our fifteenth anniversary year, our original concept and beliefs remain unchanged.
A bold and cheerful orange. This colour works well in typographical elements and paper products, but also when used for shiny enameled surfaces. A striking highlight, evoking building paraphernalia and warning signs. And for us a Penguin will always be, not black and white, but orange!
Deep and dark, black gives objects a sculptural quality, as it defines their shape. We often choose black products for LABOUR AND WAIT; the density of the colour can create a dramatic effect. The bold, graphic combination of black with white always has impact.