Bristol pop-up shop HowKapow sells designer homewear goods with a practical use
Who says art is only for the wall? The vibrant, kitsch and colourful Howkapow sells both practical and extravagant products for your home, your kitchen and yourself.
Situated in Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Howkapow is a fantastically funky shop selling fun, eye-catching products with an original, smile-inducing style.
These include ceramics, lamps and lights, prints and posters, accessories, jewellery and gifts from a wide range of independent designers.
Howkapow is the brainchild of husband and wife team Rog (a BBC radio producer) and Cat (a Bristol University and Central Saint Martins graduate and former journalist). The pair combined their surname, How, with the fact that they wanted to source designers who were loud, bright and in-your-face – hence kapow!
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Rog says: "We were living in London, where Cat had been doing a Fine Art degree, but decided to move back to Bristol, where we met. At that point I was working in radio and Cat in design, as well as selling Cat's jewellery on market stalls.
"There were very few jobs going in Bristol, so we decided that the only way we could make the move back was if we set up our own business.
"We were inspired by the many designers we had met at the market stalls who were really talented and made great products, but lacked either marketing knowledge or commercial support.
"So all of that led us to setting up a website, offering products by innovative new designers that were beautiful but also useful. We don't stock anything that hasn't got a use. Cat is very artistic and flamboyant while I like things that are practical and work, so we look for products that have both those qualities."
The website was launched two years ago and has been a big success, so when the opportunity arose to open a shop in historic Quakers Friars, Rog and Cat jumped at the chance.
"We have the shop on a pop-up basis, so we will be here until April and then we will be trying out other spaces, but still in Bristol," says Rog.
"With the shop, like the website, the aim was to help out new designers as well as sell the things that we liked and would want in our home.
"Lots of design shops can be quite intimidating, but we wanted to have fun with design and make it a bit more accessible and lighthearted."
It's impossible to keep your purse in your pocket when you visit Howkapow. With a great selection of products from established and breakthrough talent, this treasure trove is perfect for those who covet unusual and eclectic gifts and design products at affordable prices.
The shop is sparse and white, making its brightly coloured products leap off the shelves. Simply and attractively laid out, Howkapow has an eye-catching selection of prints on one wall, with a collection of designer tea towels on the other.
Near the entrance, there's a great range of cushions, including some bang-on-trend animal prints by Bristol-based illustrator Lucie Sheridan.
Towards the back of the shop there's an eye-catching array of mugs, jugs, pots and plates as well as modern, hand-crafted trays and very popular dog and cat lamps.
In between, there's a huge, eclectic selection of homeware, from coffee makers and plastic storage containers, to chopping boards and cake stands, plus a stunning range of unique jewellery and silk scarves.
The products are continuously updated with new pieces in store every season, so it's worth popping in from time to time to catch any recent additions before they fly off the shelves.
Few could have expected that the redevelopment of Bristol's shopping district in recent years would have resulted in the addition of vibrant independent shops, but it's a very welcome trend.
Howkapow, wherever it's trading, will be an outlet that's worth keeping on your radar.
Howkapow Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol. Visit www.howkapow.com.