Owl & Monkey – The Next Chapter

A vacant corner shop from a chance conversation; three months of evenings and weekends cleaning
stripping, painting, floor laying and fitting; leading to a daunting opening morning – would anyone come? All driven by a simple dream: to create a joyful space at the heart of the local area, a storybook shop offering community connections, inspiration and a carefully chosen range of goods to spark joy in the everyday.

Owl & Monkey on the Heslington Road has, over the last three years, gone from serendipitous opportunity on an amazing journey of trial and error, frustration and delight to – we hope – deliver some of this dream.

You have allowed our little slow-living store to develop. To become a place where beautiful products, ethically and sustainably sourced, celebrate the simple pleasures of life; where studio potters offer their work and conscientious manufacturers receive your support; where stationery lovers indulge; where artists and makers collaborate and share the space; where people can meet and connect.

None of what we have achieved to-date would have been possible without the support of our amazing suppliers, the makers and artists who have so generously given their time and talent to the shop, our neighbours around the wonderful Heslington Road, our followers, friends and family and, of course, everyone who has supported us with purchases large and small. Your trust, custom and encouragement has a value that has been repeatedly priceless in terms of our morale.

However, as 2019 drew to a close it became apparent that for the Owl & Monkey journey to continue we would need to make some bold decisions and changes. Then serendipity struck again!

As we sat pondering our business future in January an instagram post popped up: fellow Indie business owner Angus announced that with sadness, after 19 years of trading, he would be closing his much-loved Snowhome store.

It remained a successful and popular feature on York’s independent scene, but with a new maker-led
venture flourishing, he felt the time had come for him to move on. His heartfelt post describing both the obstacles and possibilities for good, independent retail struck a chord with us and he ended his message with a simple offer, ‘…if you are interested in a pop-up, the shop or Snowhome, contact me…’

Snowhome is a place we have always admired. It was one of the independent stores that inspired our own dreams and Angus has worked hard to create a beautiful shop which shares so many of our values. It was a call we just couldn’t ignore!

Twenty-four hours after our initial email we met over a coffee. Possibilities were discussed, ideas were exchaged, and what rapidly became clear was that there was joint interest in the possibility of Snowhome continuing and Owl & Monkey moving forward, creating a new story together: the best of both our shops in one exciting space.

We are absolutely thrilled that, after a lot more coffees and Angus’ amazing support and kindness, we have formed a hugely exciting agreement to take over the ownership of Snowhome in the early summer. We will make our move to 42 Gillygate to form a new venture offering O + M at Snowhome: a collaborative blend of our two brands.

We will, of course, be sad to leave our little shop on the Heslington Road: like so many things you build with your own hands it holds a place dear in our hearts. We also truly believe the Heslington Road deserves places of creativity and joy and we will be working hard to find new opportunities for this little corner shop to continue to offer that.

We don’t regret a moment of our time here. We are hugely grateful to you all, our amazing customers and collaborators, who have made Owl & Monkey possible and we very much hope that you will want to continue to share the road ahead with us on the next part our journey.

Like Angus, we truly believe independent bricks and mortar shops have an important place in our
communities: that they can be spaces to share and a force to enable the opportunities we want to see.

Our and Angus’ shared values of a more conscious consumerism will remain at the heart of the new shop. A carefully chosen collection of responsibly sourced, design-led goods will seek to celebrate the everyday; a joyful experience where creativity, collaboration and our partnerships with individual makers and conscientious manufacturers will continue to be integral to what we do.

We hope we will remain a place that both ours and Snowhome’s communities feel part of, a place where old favourites and new discoveries can still be found. A space to make Angus and you proud as we take

Snowhome and Owl & Monkey forward to a new chapter. We will post updates along the way on our blog and on our social media channels. There will also be opportunities to help us bid farewell to the current shop and welcome it in its new home. So, please stay in touch: we’d love to share the adventure with you.