Best of the Bricks: The Red Door

The Red Door is situated on a storybook street in Edinburgh, UK.  Manager Sarah occupies the upper levels of the store front and thus has truly made the Red Door a family affair.  This is evident in the adoring way she speaks of her staff and her customers, alike.  This is a must stop if the UK is your home, or for those who will be traveling abroad soon!

The Red Door opened August 2003 with the goal of adding something original to Edinburgh. We felt that our wonderful city lacked independent stores, especially ones that loved and supported artists, designers and handcrafters. Our aim was to exhibit and sell distinctive work from dedicated artists, who love what they do, and create professional goodies we can share with others.  I’ve been the stores manager since 2004.  Coming from the shores of New Zealand, I was very much used to shopping independent businesses.  We wanted to fill this void in Edinburgh, and give artists and designers an opportunity to offer their wares in a brick and mortar shop.

I’m a very tactile person and often if in other shops, pick up and touch just about everything (to my husbands fascination) and therefore think it’s really important to have a bricks and mortar shop. Running a shop means we get to meet the customer face to face, see why they like something (or don’t), meet some pretty darn cute children and for the most part, get to have some lovely chats with people about our shop, their lives and just about everything in between (with the weather usually coming in their somewhere, afterall, it is the UK).

The Red Door has evolved immensely over the last 6 years and is very much a ’boutique design/art space’.  We showcase amazing artwork, books, and design led products (ie accessories, bags, jewelry, home wares, stationary) and just about anything else we think is cool.

We aspire to show an ever-changing body of work that is both accessible and affordable. No piece of artwork is ever over £1000 and rarely above £500, with the majority sitting around the £20-£40 mark. You can equally pick up some great cards, badges and fun things with the change in your pocket. We hope to inspire and challenge a broad range of audiences from those who shy away from art galleries to avid collectors to those who are just after something different.

We are very lucky to have had a loyal group of customers who have supported us over the years. We love when a customer gets as excited about the space as we are. The words ‘I love your store’ coming out of a customers mouth is music to our ears. It’s really encouraging to hear that they love shopping with us as they know they are supporting a locally owned business as well as lots of artists and designers.  For us, this is what its all about.

We encourage anyone to pop in for a browse, or chat (if only we had enough space to make cups of tea for everyone). We sell artwork, but we tend to be very different from a traditional gallery because we stock lots of other products. The whole team gets a kick out of seeing someone take something home they love,(whether it cost £1 or £100) and then in turn, seeing the artists happy that people are buying their wares. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

Myself and my husband James and our 11 month old son Charlie, share the same front door as the shop by living in the two floors above and sharing cups of tea and slices of cake with the 4 other staff members on a daily basis in their kitchen. Kate, Catherine, Nicky and Cynthia make up the rest of the team and always arrive and leave with smiling faces – and in our eyes, are the best staff around!

elise dodds
sunlight on closed eyelids
alice melvin

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The Red Door Gallery
42 Victoria Street

3 thoughts on “Best of the Bricks: The Red Door

  1. I was just visiting Edinburgh last month for the first time, and my friend took me to Red Door. It’s one of the most charming shops I’ve been to! Thank goodness they have a web site, or I might have to move to Scotland. :)

  2. How wonderful that I visited the Red Door Gallery today for the first time! We have just moved to Edinburgh and I will be making Victoria Street a regular haunt. I was so impressed with everything on offer and have my eye on some prints, it is fabulous to see the work of independent makers and artists in such a lovely space.

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