Master Debonair and Fire&Co team up to create unique lifestyle shopping experience
Two successful independent businesses have teamed up to create a unique shopping experience after lockdown saw a surge in home styling.
Master Debonair menswear in East Boldon and Fire&Co interiors in Simonside Industrial Estate, South Shields, both have a loyal following in their fields, but now they’ve teamed up so that shoppers can suit up whilst also styling up their home.
A former stock room at Master Debonair in Station Terrace has been converted to create a lifestyle room where shoppers can purchase fashion accessories, as well as furniture and decor for the home.
Retail as a whole has taken a hit this year, but the collaboration is a way for both independents to adapt their offering whilst supporting fellow local businesses.
Skye-Alexander Ferry, director at Fire & Co, says the brands are a natural fit.
"Simon reached out to us about utilising this space to create more of a lifestyle room where people could have a cup of coffee and browse interiors,” he explained. “We have plenty of quirky pieces that suits their style and that ‘gentleman’ look, so it’s worked really well.”
Despite the difficult climate in which shops have had to close for weeks at a time for lockdowns, Fire&Co has proved popular thanks to its online offering and its home styling service.
"People are more interested in interiors than ever before,” explained Skye. “People come in for one thing and then end up using us to style the whole room. Everyone wants that Instagram home.”
Simon Whitaker, co-founder of Master Debonair, has long wanted to build on his brand to create more of an overall lifestyle concept. With the pandemic affecting their usual trade in occasion-wear, it’s given him the chance to explore other avenues.
During the first lockdown, he also converted an upstairs room into a private showroom for a more bespoke service.
As well as pieces from Fire&Co, this latest phase will see the retailer selling Tynemouth Coffee, own-brand candles, beard oils, personalised leather accessories from Stockton-based Coupland Leathers, alcohol-free beer gift sets and tie gift sets from Victory & Innsbruck.
Simon said: “We feel really passionate about working with other North East brands and to create a real partnership, that benefits both of us. “I’ve always felt our brand lends itself to lifestyle as a whole and after doing a shoot at Fire&Co I knew it was a brand that would really complement ours. It’s so important that both brands fit together.”
It comes as we’re encouraging people to shop local where possible with our ongoing #SupportLocal campaign to help boost the high street, sustain our independent businesses and keep money in the region.
Skye said: “Both brands have a unique offering, that’s completely different to the high street and the big retailers, so it gives consumers a different shopping experience.”
Simon said: “The high street has been hit hard by the pandemic, but one of the great things about independents is that they can be a lot more agile than the big corporates can, and can adapt their offering.”