When people think of Cambridge in business terms, it’s usually with thoughts of high-tech (Silicon Fen) type companies, doing rather clever things with electronics or biotechnology. But there is another, less well-publicised side to the local business scene – that of the creative sector companies, perfectly illustrated here by Ark Cambridge.
Ark’s story started in 2001 as a small gift shop on Norfolk street. Founded by owner Jane Richards and now located centrally on Peas Hill, its 'gifts for interesting people' are sourced from all over the world with an emphasis on colour, great design, fun and always with a mind to outwit the department stores to offer something different.
Yet over the years, Jane found it increasingly hard to purchase interesting and different items, particularly ones manufactured in Britain. Which is why in 2015, and with the help of shop buyer Amy Lindsay, they founded Ark Colour Design. Based in a studio just outside Cambridge in the village of Waterbeach, they design and sell their very own range of truly unique and colourful leather goods. Products include bags and purses as well as typically (for Ark!), quirky items such as nudist bookmarks and bag tags, leather jewellery and the interestingly-named hairy potato pouches. Manufactured by a family-run company in Scotland who translate the designs, the current collection is now stocked at over 200 independent retail outlets across the UK and Europe (including Ark Cambridge of course), and they have also designed bespoke products for the likes of the V&A, the National Theatre and the National Portrait Gallery.
Always up for finding new creative project, the Ark team are currently working with a small pottery firm in Devon to create their first range of ceramics, with the first pots launching in Paris in September 2018. Quite a journey for a small gift shop from Cambridge!
1-2, Peas Hill
Tel: 01223 363372
Always best to check holiday opening times.