As any visitor to Labour and Wait knows, we are a fairly hirsute lot. We wear a variety of beards, moustaches and ‘designer’ stubble, but we still acknowledge the importance of a good close shave, and so we are very excited about our new selection of safety razors and shaving accessories.
The Merkur range of razors, manufactured in Solingen, arrived in store recently. This area of Germany has long been renowned for the quality of its metalwork, particularly in bladed metal, and these razors are no exception. The Nickel plated safety razor is a design that can be traced back to 1904 and the first Gillette Double Edge Safety Razor, and is a simple, timeless design that should last a lifetime of shaving.
The Deluxe Safety Razor comes in its own case and is supplied with ten blades. The cream dial handle rotates to open the head, allowing easy replacement of the blade, and the razor itself has a wonderful heavy feel in the hand.
For the perfect shave the razors are ideally accompanied with either our Valobra Shaving soap, long a favourite amongst our discerning male customers, or with our new Proraso shaving soap.
Proraso has being making shaving soap in Italy since 1926, and is respected the world over for the quality of shave it provides. This shave cream has a delicate eucalyptus and menthol scent and is perfect used in conjunction with our 444 After Shave Balm.
All these shaving products are available from our website.
For a fantastic site full of information about classic razors and some beatiful illustrations and adverts, why not visit Mr-Razor?.
We are delighted to introduce our new range of footwear, available from our Redchurch Street Store.
We have searched for a long time to find the right espadrilles, and we are glad to have found the perfect supplier. Although these may look similar to those available in many other high street shops, we know these are of the highest quality, hand-made in Spain in the traditional manner and authentic in every detail.
As any visitor to Barcelona knows, La Manual Alpargatera is the place to go for your espadrilles, and we are very happy to be the first British stockist of their classic artisan footwear. Established during the Civil War, La Manual have been making their espadrilles in the traditional way ever since.
Really, though, we should be calling these slippers espardenyes, after all that is the original Catalan name ( before the French corruption of espadrilles ). And as these are made in Catalonia, it is only right to give them their true title.
Espardenyes are available in sizes 39 to 44 in Natural, Navy, Black, Brown and Red.
After seeing the unfortunate events in Japan recently, we were thinking about ways in which we could help out, when we received an email from Mizuyo Yamashita, a Japanese ceramicist who asked if we would be interested in carrying some of her chopstick rests.
We loved the look of these little houses so we agreed to sell them for her, with all profits going to the Japanese Red Cross and Civic Force. These have proved to be very popular with all of our customers and, thanks to their generosity, we have had to ask Mizuyo to bring us in new stock each week.
As we have suppliers, colleagues and friends in Japan we were glad to do our little bit to help and we are planning more for the future, but in the meantime please visit Mizuyo’s blog and have a look at some of her exquisite ceramics.
Labour and Wait was honored to received a visit from Spitalfields Life this week. A figure familiar yet mysterious to those of us living and working in the area, the Gentle Author is the chronicler and curator of all things East London, a modern day Charles Lamb and a single-handed reincarnation of the Illustrated London News.
Our esteemed author was here to visit our Brush Museum, a collection of curios and keepsakes assembled over many years by Simon and Rachel, Labour and Wait’s founders and owners. Now displayed with pride on our staircase, these brushes are only a small selection of those collected over the years, and range from a nineteenth century clothes brush to a modern Japanese plasterer’s brush and a Swedish floor scrubber. The gentle author, however, can write about this collection with far more style and charm than I ever could, so please take a trip to this wonderful blog for more on our repository of sweepers, scourers, scrubbers, wipers and washers.
At Labour and Wait we believe in form, function and affordability. Everyday jobs and tasks can be completed with ease and enjoyment - pleasure, even - if only the right tools are used.
The joys of simple, effective and affordable design are explored in Kim Colin and Sam Hecht’s new book ‘Usefulness in Small Things’. A collection of items from small local shops around the world, brought together through the theme of 'Under a Fiver’, the book is an examination of function and design, and of the relationship between object and user.
As well as contributing a foreword to the book, Paul Smith is also hosting an exhibition to celebrate the launch, timed to coincide with the Milan Furniture Fair, and we are very pleased to have been able to supply some useful items of our own for this exhibition.
“Usefulness in Small Things” is on display at Paul Smith Milan, Palazzo Gallarati Scotti,
Via Manzoni 30, from the 11th April.
For more information on Paul Smith, check out his blog.
The second edition of Independent London is now available at Labour and Wait. This great little book is your guide to the best of London’s independent shops, cafes and workshops.
We know how much time, effort and energy goes into running these small businesses, whether in retail or publishing, so a book like this is perfect in spreading the word about all these great companies. The London independent scene is vibrant and exciting, with new shops appearing all the time, especially in local areas traditionally ignored by the major high street brands. So support your local shops, support your local area, and shop independent.
So, after ten happy and successful years we finally bid farewell to our old home, number 18 Cheshire Street. All the stock has been packed up, the shelves have been taken down, the holes filled, the walls repainted and our vast collection of bits and pieces removed to Redchurch Street. All that remains is to give it one last clean, pull the shutters down and hand back the keys.
Simon and Rachel’s famous American Gothic pose, as seen in magazines worldwide.
We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us at Cheshire Street, we have really enjoyed our time here and have felt lucky to be a part of this community. The street has changed so much since 2001, when we first opened, and it looks set to keep evolving with a new generation of shops and shopkeepers soon to establish themselves. Cheshire Street has had a huge role in the revitalisation of the East End and we’re glad to have played our part.
Packing up and moving on…
We will be open as normal on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December, and for last minute shoppers we will be open until 8pm on Thursday the 23rd.
We will then be on our Christmas holidays until Tuesday the 4th of January.
Thankyou for your support and custom this year, and we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Many thanks to those of you who made it to our opening party last week. Particular thanks go to Rochelle Canteen and Truman’s Beer. It is always good to work with local suppliers and businesses, and we were particularly pleased to have two firkins of beer from Truman’s, who have brought their famous name ( and their famous beer ) back to the pubs of East London.
Our thanks also go to our generous friends and suppliers who provided us with the goodies for our gift bags:
Labour and Wait’s new premises was once the old Dolphin, a Truman, Hanbury and Buxton Co. public house. The distinctive tiled exterior has long been a feature of Redchurch Street and we are delighted to bring this building back to public life.
The above photo, of the Dolphin in the 1930s, is taken from the Dead Pubs website, and when we found the image we were delighted to see the writing on the curved corner window. One of our original intentions for this new store was to have handpainted signage and lettering on the windows, and this was completed for us in some style by Peter Hardwicke.
Peter’s work is in evidence all over London, and in particular the East End, and he completed the finishing touches on our new store, helping to link the new Labour and Wait with the old Dolphin.
For more information on Peter and his signwriting, visit the ever-fascinating Spitalfields Life blog, from where this picture is taken. ( Photo by Jeremy Freedman )
So after ten successful years on Cheshire Street, Labour and Wait are proud to present our new home! Converted from an old Truman Brewery pub, 85 Redchurch Street is a short walk from our old store but represents an exciting new era for us. Open 6 days a week, the new store is bigger and brighter and features many new products alongside all the old favourites.
And alongside the new shop we’ll also be easing ourselves into the 21st Century with this blog. We’ll be keeping you updated with news of products, events and various interesting bits and pieces. Welcome to Labour and Wait, we hope to see you in the store soon!