Hidden Secrets of the Nichols – All things vintage and antique!
There’s so many vintage and antique retailers popping up all over Sheffield recently it’s hard to know where to go and where to find them.
But after doing a little digging around the city we discovered a new craft centre hiding down at the Nichols Building that’s been open for only three weeks. We love finding new hidden secrets in the city and TNB Indie Arcade is definitely one of them.
Run by 18-year old Mollie Wilson with the help of mum Gill and Skint and Demoralised band frontman Matt Abbott as social media and events manager (who both joined us for the interview), the place has absolutely everything you could wish for! From retro furniture, to vintage clothes and handmade bags, baby gifts and jewellery, there’s so much to explore and lose yourself in (literally!)
With future plans to hold craft markets and events with a little extra flare the team are bursting with ideas and so excited to get stuck in. Hoping to expand onto the courtyard and down into the cellar to host these events they plan to attract the crowds with plenty of stalls, live music and a special horror screening for a Halloween special.
We went to have a chat with Mollie to find out more…
Exposed: So you’re 18 and still in college, how did you end up getting involved in something like this?
Mollie: I had an art studio here last summer and then I left to go back to college. This started turning into a bit like it is now; upstairs is the same but more antiques. Jill started to get too full and began putting them down here. When the business went up for sale we just wanted it straight away, we thought it’d be good and we needed something to do.
You had a lot of work to do before moving in, how did you get the place running?
It started the first day we moved in, we stripped out the office, the partitions, we gave it a lick of paint, touched up the walls, painted the floors; we had three 10-hour days decorating.
The worst thing was that we’d already got some of the traders in here so we had to move all the furniture to one end, paint half the floor then leave walk ways to the door so we could get out! It was a nightmare but definitely worth it.
What’s it like to be a manager at such a young age?
It’s good! I like it. I’ve always been a bit of a bossy cow [laughs]! It’s like my natural progression in life, telling people what to do.
(Mollie's mum interjects) No you don’t really tell people what to do, it’s laid back though, I mean people come in just for a chat, that’s why we’ve got this area; they have a coffee and just have a chat.
Yeah, we don’t want to be too retail orientated. We want it to be more of a hub where people come to meet. Eventually we want to have a vintage hairdressers and a tattoo artist so that it becomes more of a place rather than just a shop.
Our absolute ideal is Afflecks Palace in Manchester. That’s how we’d like it to be. That’s the dream that one day it’ll be like that, it’s the most amazing place and housed in a similar building to this. We want it to be individual shops rather than just units, really quirky and individual. That’s the plan. Whether that’ll happen I don’t know.
Something to aim for though isn’t it…
Yeah it is, look what we’ve achieved in three weeks! It’s totally different from when we first came. A lot of people in Sheffield don’t even know this is here so we’re really going to market it. Everyone who comes loves it, they all come back. We’re everything from retro to hippy dippy so it’s just getting people to know about it. We’re relying on word of mouth now before we get the marketing out and it has been working, we’ve had a lot of friend recommendations.
We’re also gonna offer a competition for the universities for anybody who wants to enter an art piece or sculpture or anything and then we’ll decide the winner and they’ll get a free cabinet for a year or free wall space depending what they’re selling. We really want to target the students.
Everything looks really amazing, where do you get all your collections from?
We’ve got loads of different dealers! We’ve got Gary with Reverse Gear Interiors with high end retro and good quality stuff, and then we’ve got Sarah who does the costume jewellery and knick knacks; fun little things really. Then we’ve got Simon Abbots artwork that’s fantastic, Munckin Baby Gifts, Ruby Red Handmade and A&D Creations who create wonderful stained glass pieces and also offer workshops. We're always looking for more.
There’s so much to choose from! What’s one of the weirdest things you’ve had to sell?
That’s got to be the invalid carriage – it’s not for sale though but that’s very strange. Or the graffiti piano is pretty strange. We need more weird though, we’ve got nowhere near enough weird!
What’s the best thing you’ve had in to sell?
To be honest everything in the retro furniture, that pink heater, I just love that! I end up buying more stuff than I sell; we’re so tempted when it comes in. I turn up in one outfit and end up going home in another [laughs]! We love everything basically.
What do you love about working here?
I just love the things that I buy but that’s not right [laughs]!
It’s also the social side, people drift in and out and we chat. It’s just meeting and chatting to people and I like buying and selling anyway. I really like going to all the markets and all the different little places to get your stock and finding out about all these places, artists and photographers that you never knew about and getting to see peoples work that you never normally get to see.
Your such an amazing artist yourself, are you going to sell any of your own art work?
There’s one over there (pointing to the wall behind us), there’s bits and bobs of my own things hanging around.
What are the other businesses like in this building?
The upstairs is similar to this. They rent out units to other sellers, but its more antiques and a bit more of the classic idea of vintage antiques. It’s more quirky and arty down here. There’s a retro café upstairs as well – Eat at the Nichols – where all the furniture they use is on sale too.
What are they like to work with, do you all get on well?
We all help each other out and promote each other’s businesses. You wouldn’t come here and stay on one floor; you’d look around the whole building.
Thank you, it’s been great talking to you! This place is wonderful.
Open Tuesday – Sunday 11am till 5pm. Visit their Facebook Page to find out more.
Interview by Samantha Butler. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.