“Bedford’s Friendliest Shop” Opens, Offering One-of-a-Kind Gifts and Service with a Smile

L’Arty Girafe: Service with a smile!

Bedford’s new boutique not only offers a range of unique handcrafted products, but it’s also Bedford’s friendliest boutique.

The Arty Giraffe ‘A Really Friendly Shop’ opens this Thursday (May 5) at the Living It Up Performing Arts Center in St Cuthbert’s Hall and has been fully set up, stocked and will be run by adults with disabilities learning and/or autism.

As the name of the shop suggests, you can expect quirky, handmade products such as cards, bags, art, gifts and accessories, all sold with a smile. The learners guided the entire process, from naming the store, designing the logo, manufacturing the products and serving the customers.

Katie Allen, a local illustrator supporting the new project, said: “The artists have a really wide range of skills, including painting, graphic design and crafts, so it’s fantastic to see their work for sale.

“Not only can you buy off-the-shelf products, but you can also order unique items, including t-shirts.

“One of the artists can even paint your own unique pet portrait.”

All sales will be reinvested in the development and management of the store and in providing new skills to learners.

“We already have high hopes for the project,” Katie said.

“The current boutique is a pop-up in the cozy entrance hall of the Center des Arts du Spectacle, but we have ambitions for the future. Watch this place…’

Claire, Really Friendly Manager and co-founder of Living It Up, said: “We are extremely excited to finally open The Arty Giraffe. The project has been in the works for a long time and all the learners, volunteers and employees of our store have worked extremely hard to make it happen.

The grand opening of the boutique will take place on Thursday, May 5 and will be open from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays at St. Cuthbert’s Hall, on Newnham Street.

Customers can park directly outside for 20 minutes and if you do it right, you might also be lucky enough to hear music, podcasts or plays which also take place at the Performing Arts Center !

You can see more products and receive updates on the Arty Giraffe Facebook Page or on their website.

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Laura J. Boyer