Rex Liverpool Box Store...

It's harder and harder these days to set up and successfully run an independent business, with it's many many over heads, huge cost and massive risk factor it's no surprise that most small businesses run solely online, taking the personal element out of shopping.
Even online it's pretty much a full time job, using social media to get your brand out there, networking as much as humanely possible, plus sorting out orders and making or ordering all those bits and pieces you need, that it can all become somewhat overwhelming.
Enter the middle man, good guy business men who are encouraging, supporting, and giving space to those creative types to get their wares out there offline and on the high street of Liverpool.
Rex Liverpool is Liverpools first concept and box store, offering an opportunity for these sole traders to sell their items on a commission base in an actual store, a 500 square foot store in the heart of Liverpools city centre.
Working hard to bring stores back to the accessible high street and providing an outlet for people to set up and buy from small businesses, ranging from vintage wear, to whole foods, art, gifts, and everything in between.

The home to many well known local brands such as Cards for Scousers, Little Red Vintage, Enola Rose, and Pawabella but also housing up and coming businesses such as Madame Medusa Beauty, a recent entry into the store and only two months old, but with an amazing future ahead.
The most wonderful thing I noticed when there is that the store is manned by Rex's own staff, which shows how much they understand the setting up of small business owners that are building their brands while still working in full time jobs, something some of these stall owners do.
It's been six months since Rex came to be, setting up shop in the basement of Rapid Hardware Store, formerly John lewis' and George Henry Lee's, but it's already becoming the place to be with a current count 70 different stalls working out of there right now.
As well as housing local innovators, they have opened up the store to some of Liverpools local students, offering them a space to get involved and decorate the space, making it one of the most interesting bright and colourful spaces to exist in the city.

Cards for Scousers
Even if you're a small business, you can rent anything from a single shelf to a couple of square feet in the store (space permitting!) and this leads to a store full of everything you could possibly imagine and many things you may not have but will still want once you clap your eyes onto it.
Rex won the award for the Best Startup Business at the Merseyside Independent Business Awards and it's easy to see why, helping out so very very many start up businesses in the past six months alone, in such a way others have not been able or willing to.

The Soap Shop

I visited the store myself on Monday to take some photo's and find out a little more about Rex, I must have been there for about an hour and a half just taking photos, ending up with about 116 pictures of so many amazing and interesting things, I have condensed it down so much to not over saturate this blog with photos but there was just so much I wanted to show that it proved quite hard to cut out all those shots of all those lovely stores and stalls.
While there I met Matt Bell, one of the owners of Rex Liverpool and Revolver Retail, a company that helps put small businesses in touch with landlords for pop up stores or short term retail spaces which makes a lot of sense as to why they are now providing so much space for so many people venturing that idea out into a dedicated space.

Madame Medusa Beauty
When I sat down with Matt I quickly realised how much passion he holds for this concept store, mostly on how it can help local entrepreneurs to thrive and grow, and also the achievements of the store to give space to local students producing a space that is ever changing and ever growing.
While I was photographing two of the stall holders came in to restock their spaces, they all spoke to each other like old friends, it is plain to see that Matt and his fellow owners treat their stall holders with respect and friendship, nourishing a solid working relationship.

African Dream
Enola Rose
Every corner of the store has yet another venture to peruse, some familiar names such as my friend Enola Rose, an amazing milliner with fans such as Paloma Faith wearing her innovative and fresh designs.
Enola's main seller is her 40's style headscarves and oversized bows, currently in stock at Rex.
These are such statement pieces, and from seeing her past designs including barbie head fascinators, giant red lips, and so much more I'm quite excited to see the upcoming ranges available here on the high street.

Faith Babbington Sculpture
There isn't really an abundance of space for independent artists to display their works, with independent seemingly a bad word in the council of Liverpool's eyes, leading to the closure of such amazing ventures as Mello Mello which provided a space for so many local performers, talent, and even workshops.
I was excited to see such a large area of the store dedicated to local art works, one area currently displaying a range of hanging and standing sculptures by Faith Babbington.
This has been arranged with Rex via Dot-Art, a Liverpool based art gallery who works with local artists providing art consultancy, exhibition planning, and an online place for artists to sell their works.
There are an abundance of prints also available for sale, to give your house that pop of colour and culture to make your friends think you are well cultured-and-that.

Koala Parlour
I was surprised to see a whole foods seller based in the store, with so many tempting products available I can only hope the range will grow, fingers crossed to include some vegan products that are not currently available in my home town of Liverpool.
I will be going back to stock up on some fresh pepper and mustard seeds to add an exciting touch to my cooking over the next few months.
It really goes to show that you really can get pretty much anything you need in one place, it's become somewhat of a one stop shop for anyone with a penchant for vintage, one off pieces, antiques, art and so so so much more.

Jacksons Fashion
The one dress that sticks in my mind from the whole trip is this personalised Instagram dress from Jacksons Fashions, shown here in two different dress types.
Send over your favourite snaps and memories and Jacksons Fashion will turn them into a wearable photo album, definitely an eye catching piece that will get people talking and lusting after one of their very own.
Just hope they don't try to double tap you...!

If the sheer amount of stalls and things to see in the store get a little overwhelming at any point, you can take a little break and grab some tea and cake, made by local baker Say it with Flours, in the Rex Cafe Tea-Rex.
There's also Lucky Charms in pots to bring out your inner child hunting for the marshmallows and ignoring those crunchy healthy(ier) cereal bits.
As well as the tea and cake, the cafe hosts a variety of events and workshops with a recent event based around Ronald Dahl, so it's worth keeping an eye on the Tea-Rex twitter account for any upcoming events.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Rex, I have a lot now added to my wish list and will be back again to see if there's more to add to that list.
I'm also happy that there is now a space I can find all those unique gifts and cards to give for birthdays and over christmas that also supports small and independent companies making my pocket happier and my karma points grow.
If you find yourself in Liverpool get yourself to the basement of Rapid for this exciting, vibrant, colourful and growing space, but I'll warn you'll find it hard to leave without buying something!
I did.
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