Totes Amaze

This month, four specially designed tote bags encouraging Sheffielders to shop local will be available from a selection of independent retailers in the city.

The initiative fronted by Business Sheffield saw local company BIDBI (Bag It Don’t Bin It) producing the eco-friendly bags, while local agency Eleven Design worked with Marketing Sheffield to help bring the creative side of the vision to life.

To give the bags a truly local flavour, four Steel City artists were commissioned to provide the eye-catching designs: Oli Frape, Suzi Kemp, Aleema Ali and Lydia Lapinski. The brief was to create artwork inspired by the city and themed around shopping locally and supporting the wider high-street community.

The limited run of bags will be distributed to high-street businesses across the city, who will then decide individually how to make use of them, be that as a free gift for spending a certain amount, as part of a loyalty/reward scheme or simply as a welcome gift to first-time customers!

Following an exceptionally challenging two years for the high street, it is hoped that this awareness project coinciding with the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and the arrival of Spring will help to stimulate trade and pride in local retail.

Keep an eye out for posters displayed in shop windows letting you know which businesses are stocking the totes. And as ever, don’t forget to share the love on social media when shopping local using the #ShopLocalSheffield hashtag!


I’m passionate about supporting local independent businesses and we’re fortunate enough to have loads of them in Sheffield. It feels like there’s a strong independent spirit in this city and I’m proud to be a part of it.

I live in Meersbrook, where we’ve got a great collection of indies. Create Coffee on Chesterfield Road is a good spot and always buzzing with people. The Tramshed bar next door is also great (every community needs a good independent bar, right?!) A few doors further up is the record shop Spinning Discs, and I should also mention Kopi and Chai café – which is literally a minute from my door and does good coffee and food.

Oli Frape's tote

My lettering for this project is a nod to vintage temporary ‘sale’ signs that sign-writers used to make for local businesses, known as Sho’ Cards. They’d have been hand-painted by a local sign-writer, just on card or something impermanent, and used by local independent shops to promote that day’s special offer. It seemed like the perfect response/reference for the theme of this project.



I got involved with this project because it meant me designing for local shops, getting people to shop more locally and supporting all those small incredible businesses. I mostly wanted to focus on the food sector; there are so many incredible cafes, restaurants and markets in Sheffield that I feel need so much more attention.

When it comes to independents, I mostly use cafes, restaurants and markets. My favourite has to be Burritos Y Mas, as they do some incredible burritos. I also like Hygge Café – it’s such a nice, chilled-out environment and does amazing dishes and desserts. Last but not least is the Sandwich Division on Division Street – these guys do the best sandwiches you will ever taste.

Aleema Ali's tote

The inspiration behind my design was all the independent local cafes, restaurants and food markets. I did illustrations based on what these local shops provide such as cakes, sandwiches, burritos and much more. My design consists of bright and bold colours reflecting the local businesses.



I really admire Eleven Design and follow the work they do, so was really happy when they asked me to get involved in this project. I love visiting and exploring independent shops and events in Sheffield; it was a joy to interpret and reflect this through illustration.

A few of my favourite Sheffield independents are Pom Kitchen for curated gifts and the prettiest food you’ve ever seen; All Carrot No Stick, a completely plant-based grocery store, Lembas, Sheffield Makers, Saucy, Baked and Caked, Create Coffee, Forge (for vegan cinnamon swirls), Mookau, Zeds, Cafe No 9. Moonko is amazing because it’s filled with dried flowers, then there’s also Ozmens, Spinning Discs, Kelham Arcade and Empire News for a trove of sweets and seasoning!

Suzi Kemp's tote

For this design, I illustrated some of the items available to buy through independent shops in Sheffield, and also wanted to capture the friendliness of the communities behind these shopping experiences! I’ve used wildlife-inspired character design to capture the diversity, community and positivity present in Sheffield’s local independents.

The use of animals is a nod to the wildlife and nature abundant in our city and its surroundings, too. Hopefully, this design communicates the friendliness and supportiveness of Sheffield communities in a joyful, colourful way!



The main reason I was happy to get involved with this project is because I’m really passionate about supporting Sheffield’s many independent shops and businesses. I think they all need a bit more love at the moment.

I love to shop for clothes, haberdashery, toys and trinkets at St Luke’s Vintage and Kelham Arcade. Or if I feel like a treat, a nice bunch of flowers or a new plant, I’ll head to Swallows and Damsons or Plant. If I’m meeting friends we usually head to South Street Kitchen or Albies, and for days with my daughter we love to head to Cocoa Wonderland or Pom Kitchen for some treats.

Lydia Lapinski's tote

For the design I was thinking about each square being a snapshot of a little happy memory – anything from finding a piece of treasure after hunting in a shop or just getting some food you just really fancy.


To find out more, head over to #ShopLocalSheffield

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