Stockist shout-out – No Guts, No Glory, Exeter, UK
Bucking the overall newspaper and magazine market, the independent publishing space has undergone a revolution in recent years, led by a number of incredible independent magazine stores that have popped up around the country, providing new magazines with the perfect platform to get themselves into readers’ hands. Our Stockist Shout-out series looks at some of our favourite retailers and explores what makes the amazing people behind these spaces tick.
Our first featured retailer is No Guts, No Glory, a beautiful shop, café and events space located at 125 Fore St, Exeter.
Tell us about your shop – what can a first-time visitor expect to find?
The No Guts, No Glory (NGNG) shop is a jungle oasis, full of unusual & rare house plants and a curated selection of slow-living inspired products: handmade artisan wares, beautiful illustrations and designs, organic t-shirts and a growing selection of plant-based living, lifestyle books and magazines.
We're all about celebrating a creative lifestyle; our own personal ethos ruminates through every product we choose or make. Our aim is that you will leave feeling refreshed, inspired and calm, perhaps taking away something that encapsulates that feeling and will last you through generations.
How long have you been in business?
We started out way back in 2009. Nathan began the business with a friend (who subsequently got a job alongside a well-known photographer in New York) so he ended up setting up the shop mostly by himself, with a lot of help from a friend of ours, Becca Allen. The space and concept was initially born from a Punk DIY ethos – the shop back then was full of artist-designed and hand-printed tees, screen prints and photography, as well as a large collection of zines!
From there, Nath and I met through mutual friends. We were actually pen pals for about six months before we meet properly, writing to each other about projects we wanted to work on. Eventually, I moved back to Devon and we began working on the project together. NGNG has grown along with us. We've always strived to weave our own ethos into the core of the business and run a truly sustainable lifestyle store.
We've moved the shop a few times and are always adapting our business, adding and taking away things as we go and honing the project towards new beginnings.
What do you love about running an independent business?
It's a new adventure every day! I love being connected with a community of makers, doers and creative thinkers, from the people who work in the shop, to the artists and the wider community. It's so great to think that we are all working together to support our dreams.
With our daughter, I feel that she is surrounded by so many creative people carving out a lifestyle for themselves through independent business and a different way of living.
What are the biggest challenges facing indie businesses today?
I think the biggest challenges are how quickly and cheaply products can be produced and made available – especially on the internet – but the growing interest in conscious consumerism and the backlash to fast fashion is definitely more apparent then it was a few years ago. People really appreciate the connection to art and to things that are unique and handmade. There is definitely a return to this way of shopping – especially when it is for other people.
What do you love about being part of the creative community?
I really enjoy having the chance to see people grow and shape their own projects over time, watching people go from strength to strength in their own businesses and, in turn, being inspired by their progress.
I think creative communities are a constant catalyst and fertile ground for new things to grow and flourish. Over time, they attract more and more like-minded people and create the space to allow for new things to grow and develop. We're lucky in the local community we have, but also in our national and global community of makers. It's amazing how art can connect you to someone on someone on your doorstep – or on the other side of the world.
What, in your opinion, is great about independent publishing?
I've always seen indie publishing as some kind of magic. It’s such a great experience to pick up a magazine and be transported into a whole new world. It's a really personal way to connect with so many different feelings, places and people.
I'm always really interested in the choices that people have made in the design and production of the magazine. I’ve always had a love affair with books, reading and with all things paper in general. In busy times, it's wonderful to connect so deeply with something in a short space of time - dipping into something valuable that you can return to again and taking different things away from it each time.
What are some of your favourite titles out at the moment – and why?
Rolling Home Journal for its alternative living inspiration; Frankie for its consistency and ability to inspire; Bloom Magazine for its gardening tips and Cedar Magazine for its ability to transport me away to greenhouses and places of calm.
Tell us about your new space – Sacred Grounds – what will you use it for?
Sacred Grounds is a plant-based cafe but also a place for community gatherings, workshops and skill-sharing. It's a ‘sacred’ place to spend time with those you love, be inspired and enjoy some delicious plant-based food and drinks. We run on green energy and create everything from base ingredients including our range of nut-butters, shrubs and syrups.
We wanted to create a community space that is welcoming to all, whilst offering a new place to get amazing brunch or pop along to one of our evening events and be inspired by a talk, pop-up, movie or workshop.
We've had an overwhelming response to the cafe so far and we can't wait to see how we will grow. Living in a creative community means that new opportunities arise each day – and we're looking forward to channelling this energy into the Sacred Grounds space.