Late Night Shopping 2019

Our lovely market town of Saffron Walden are holding their annual Late Night Shopping event Friday 6th December.

The market square will be buzzing with locals selling their handmade goods, and we will be open until 8pm.

Grab all those last minute Christmas gifts for the whole family, from Tonie boxes, to personalised diaries and prints, to luscious smelling candles! And why not indulge on our wine and nibbles to keep your energy up and get into the Christmas spirit!

The best part is that there is FREE parking from 1pm onwards during the run up to Christmas, so take full advantage!

Autumn Winter Launch 2019

We launched our new collection last week at a Private event here at the shop.

It’s never easy being a small business owner  I am no exception to the hard work required, however once again it’s the people who surround me that I am grateful to. I have to say a huge thanks to the team for all the help that they gave me . This team include friends and business owners in the town who helped with either a lot of coffee, ear bending, cooking me dinner, alongside putting a light or two up.!!

If you had passed by the shop and asked if there was something you could do then my answer was always yes. I even roped Paxtons in when I spotted Andy helping his sister Julie who owns Beauty Box. Mistakenly thinking he was wielding a drill outside the shop I asked nicely if he could help out with a few jobs requiring said tool.  Turns out it was an angle grinder but he promptly got a drill and helped out anyway much to his sisters amusement.

Thank you Erika Daw owner of Skylar and Willow who helped every step of the way from the many Trade shows we visited to the final layout, hours put in, colour scheme and window display which will take us through Autumn Winter. Inspiration for this theme also came from the Saffron Walden Intiative . This is the 2nd year they have held a competition for best window display on the theme ‘ Light It Up ‘

‘We were quite sad to say goodbye to our Botanical themed window, however we still have the range instore. In its place however we have a lovely window to entice customers to come and shop ; be inspired with us over the seasonal period , with an exciting array of  gifts and gadgets,  there’s something for everyone this Christmas .

We have a wide choice of innovative and inspiring brands such as Ebb and Flow, Nkuku, Culinary Concepts and brands and products rarely seen outside London. The latest in wireless technology Koble Designs have a great range of speakers, lanterns USB ports and smart technology furniture and desks that we now have displays of instore.  Gingko design have widened their range at the shop and the must have children’s Audio Box Tonie are also in store amongst our well established brands Gpo Retro, Extreme lounging Bean bags, vintage cutlery , bulbs and shades to name just a few.

Thus far we have been delighted with the feedback on the window and store from the evening and since.

With many thanks to Saffron Fish company and Mini Miss bread teaming together to produce the exceptional canapés to be washed down with a glass of something lovely from Adnams.

Wendy x


Win a FREE blow dry!

We love local businesses

Our latest collaboration is with the talented hair queens of Saffron Walden….Penney’s! They tame my mane every week, and now they’re offering you a CUT & BLOW DRY for just £15! (worth £35).

“What’s the catch?”

No catch! All we ask is that come and say “hi” to us at the shop, and check in to Design Essentials on Facebook. What’s even better, is tag 2 friends and they will be in with a chance to win s FREE Blow Dry worth £20! The draw will take place every Friday and is valid until the end of August.

#MySW Launch Event

Wow! I’m still getting over the excitement of the launch event for #MySW, the Town Team’s campaign to promote Saffron Walden. I was so focused on getting ready for the night I didn’t have a moment to think about what happens afterwards. I think there’s a lesson in there for me somewhere! 

I’m sure lots of you will have read Molly’s blog post last week with her thoughts about how it went, so I try not to repeat anything.  Wendy seems to have been even busier in the shop setting up for Christmas, organizing Black Friday’s sales and the Independent Retail Shopping Challenge alongside Jude Cox of Jack’s Outdoor. Does that woman ever stop? I’ve been keeping a much lower profile following the amazing media coverage the campaign received in both our local papers and the number of views the full length video has had on YouTube. So far it’s been looked at over 4500 times. Even using the most pessimistic conversion rates, we’re confident that translates into dozens of visitors to the town’s businesses and attractions.  And that could mean several thousands of pounds for the local economy.

Wendy Howell at the #MySW launch event in Saffron Walden

Lots of businesses are beginning to share the videos on their websites or in messages to their customers.  Only last week I was delighted see that Saffron Hall included a link in their November newsletter. And Wendy has also heard from English Heritage that Audley End House and Gardens will be supporting the video.  Saffron Screen has also promised their continuing support, and if you happen to be in the UDC reception you’ll see the video playing on the screen there.

Whether you’ve got a website and thousands of Twitter followers or, like me, just Facebook entry and a few dozen friends’ email addresses it would be great it if you could share the links anywhere you can.

Full 3-minute version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APvOU0WMVkQ

30 Second version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWAVxmpvbkM 

design essentials mysw event

The support and feedback has been amazingly positive and we also had some really helpful suggestions for the next video.  This film is just the start, and we’d love to hear from you with ideas to make sure we capture more of the great things about Saffron Walden.  Suggestions so far include the football club which is apparently the 15th oldest in the world and the amazing services our County and Town libraries offer.  I didn’t know that there were mediaeval manuscripts to look at, or that library membership entitles us to use many of family ancestry sites free of charge. We want to film and represent the things you love, so please get in touch with Wendy either through this blog or pop into the shop for a chat. We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to be filmed talking about your favourite things in Saffron Walden. The next part of the campaign for the Town Team is a trip in January to attend ‘Excursions 2016’ at Alexandra Palace in London. This is a national trade show for Coach Tour Operators so they can plan their year’s trips and outings. Look out for more next month, but meanwhile please keep sharing the video as widely as you can, and let us know what it is you love about #MYSW.




Saffron Walden Brand Campaign

Design Essentials was very excited to launch the #MYSW campaign on Wednesday last week at Saffron Screen. The evening was very successful, with free drinks and nibbles going down very well with guests. However, the main reason for gathering together an audience of local entrepreneurs and proud Saffron Walden residents was to showcase the wonderful town brand campaign that our very own Wendy had been working extremely hard on for the past six months.

design essentials mysw event

Photo credit to Joe Higham reportage

The aim of the campaign is to improve accessibility and awareness of our fabulous town. In times when the internet dominates it is becoming increasingly difficult for our much-loved high streets to lure people away from their cosy sofas to do their Christmas shopping. So the Town Team has put a huge amount of time and effort into coordinating a radio ad to run until the 24th December on Star FM and a new video for the Tourist Information Centre, created by the talented Jonathan Glazier (from Pepper Raffety and ex head of light entertainment at the BBC). Emma Thomas, who collaborated with Wendy on the project said these advertising channels “aim to promote Saffron Walden and its great shopping to attract tourists and coach parties from the surrounding counties”.

In addition to the brand campaign, the team is also looking to use #MYSW as the foundation for the Saffron Walden entry in the Great British High Street Of The Year competition next year where the prize up for grabs is an impressive £50,000 to invest in the winning town.

design essentials mysw event

Photo credit to Joe Higham reportage

Please do join in with our #MYSW campaign as it is as much for local residents as it if for us as a business so by all means share your own favourite pictures of Saffron Walden or your latest fabulous purchases from the many indie shops on social media with the hashtag – we’d love to see your take on the campaign!

Watch the 3-minute #MYSW ‘What’s Great About Saffron Walden?’ video here or the 30-second one here.

Tag us in your pictures on Twitter (@SaffShopLocal) or facebook (Saffron Shop Local)

by Molly Winter

#MySW Saffron Walden Indie Retail Shopping Challenge

Saffron Walden #MySW Indie Retail Shopping Challenge




We’re very proud to be taking part in the Indie Retail Shopping Challenge, which is currently taking place in independent shops and businesses in Saffron Walden.

This is the 3rd year that the Independent Shopping Challenge has taken place. It has been organised by business owners Jude Cox from Jacks and Wendy Howell from Design Essentials, and as usual is being funded by the Saffron Walden Town Team and business owners taking part in the challenge.

This is year’s challenge started on Thursday 19th November and will run until 31st December 2015.

Participants taking part in the Shopping Challenge should drop their completed forms into the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre.

Winners will be drawn and announced on the 7th JANUARY 2016, and will share a prize fund of £620 in shopping vouchers which can be spent across any of the shops and businesses taking part.


High Street
Goddard’s Electrical
Saffron Sports
Art at Home
Handpicked and Gorgeous
Craft Days
Mad Hatters Vintage Emporuim

Church Street
Church St Gallery
Fanny and Frank

Market Hill
Riccio Hair Design
Jiminey Snippets
Arts Decrotif

King Street

Market Row
Joseph Barmes Wines
Design Essentials
Beauty Box
Toy Box
Goulds Pet Shop
Gun Hill
Tea Amo
Abracadabra Teddy Bears

George Street
Eden Lake
Cafe Cou Cou
Party Box
Jacks Outdoor

Saffron Walden Fitness

What’s great about Saffron Walden #MySW

What's Great About Saffron Walden? #MYSW

What’s Great About Saffron Walden #MySW

Wendy has been busy lately, on top of her day job, working with me on delivering a campaign for Saffron Walden Town Team called simply #MySW. We’ll be launching this officially on 18 November at Saffron Screen.

What's Great About Saffron Walden? Video Premier Invitation

I met Wendy earlier this year when I joined the Town Team to look at some accessibility issues and it soon became clear that we were both passionate about Saffron Walden but also that the things we love about it are quite different. During one of our usual catch-ups working on a marketing strategy for the Town Team in Starbucks ( good disability access ) during May/ June this year we were chatting about this and I don’t know quite how we landed on the concept but that’s how #MySW was born and the help of Gareth Wild the designer at Apropos was enlisted

We’re now working to use #MySW as the foundation for the Saffron Walden entry in the Great British High Street Of The Year competition next year. The winners get £50k to invest in their town. For us the most important thing about #MySW is it’s something everyone, residents and businesses alike, can join in. It sums up the pride in our town and also that different people enjoy different things about Saffron Walden.

As part of the campaign a radio ad promoting the town and its great shopping is up and running until the 24th December on Star FM and we’ve coordinated a new video for the Tourist Information Centre to attract tourists and coach parties from the surrounding counties.


Design Essentials letter lights used to promote the Town Team's Saffron Walden #MySW campaign


#MySW also links into the Christmas Indie Retail shopping competition starting on 19th November, and as soon as that’s underway we’ll be working on Saffron Walden’s Summer Of Arts And Culture which will include an event celebrating Saffron Screen’s 10th anniversary, having more art and sculpture in the town, and putting on jazz and theatre in the Market Square as well as spreading the word on the Maze Festival in August.

We will share all this over the coming months and hope lots of you will share your pictures and stories on social media using #MySW so all of us are part of it.