How to merge the fun and vivacity of a street market with the ease of online shopping? This is the question stylist Sarah Bagner has answered with her e-boutique Supermarket Sarah.
“Online shopping tends to be clinical,” says Bagner, who loves rummaging for vintage treasures on Portobello Road. “The fun of market shopping is often down to the personality of the vendor as well as seeing objects in context. You might see a vintage teapot on eBay, and if it’s badly photographed you won’t want to buy it; put it on a bright red wall in the right context and it comes alive. It’s all about the story.”
Supermarket Sarah showcases the work of Bagner’s favourite artists and designers in the form of a stylised wall of goods – all of which are available to buy. Browsers select a wall and when they click on a item they get a description as well as a link to the seller’s own website. Some items are made to order, such as the acrylic and mixed-media jewellery (from £24, second picture) by Hackney-based designers Wolf & Moon; others are vintage or created in small or limited runs, such as Kathleen Hills’ geometrically patterned bone china Fancy Round pendant light (£102) and Alex Swain’s beautifully simple ByAlex range of furniture, including the laminated birch plywood K-S bench (£360) and solid-ash coat rack (£60).
The site is a mine of unusual, one-off gifts with a local focus – Bagner’s picks are frequently London-made. New designers’ walls tend to be changed every week or so, and she likes to pick makers who she feels have a real passion for what that are doing. This might be quirky screen-printed animal masks and headdresses (from £45) by textile artist Sara Lowes, and cushions (from £79, first picture) in vibrant graphic prints by Giannina Capitani, or aromatic and amber-glass-cased candles (from £12 for 75g) by Essence + Alchemy.
This fun approach to product styling has been picked up by the likes of Selfridges, where Bagner has created real-life “walls” of her favourite design objects. “I create a personal space that shows what you can achieve if you use your imagination and work in real plants and your own bits and bobs – just as you would at home.”