Meet the lockdown makers & creators

December 30, 2020

Lockdown has prompted a new wave of start-ups right here in East Village. See what your neighbours have been up to and support our local entrepreneurs.

Banging bespoke bags


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A post shared by Constance Halliday vegan bags (@constancehalliday)

Meet Katie Walker, owner of Constance Halliday; an up-cycling business which transforms personal items to line the inside of beautiful clutch bags. Katie rustles up beautiful bags with materials she sources from old clothes and costumes, and all from her two-bed apartment in E20, ‘My mum taught me to sew, and she was taught by her mum (who the business is named after), so it’s a family tradition and we start young! They both had fabulous fabric collections, and I’ve loved using their vintage finds for linings for some of my bags. I like to think the brand embodies some of my grandma’s qualities – she always looked classy and well put-together. She bought good quality timeless pieces, many of which I still wear today.’

As a day job, Katie works in marketing for Theatre Royal, Stratford East, she began upcycling her own outfits that held special memories in her spare time; ‘rather than letting my London Olympics Closing Ceremony costume gather dust in my wardrobe, I used the material to transform the lining of a beautiful vegan leather clutch. The memory of that very special moment lives on every time I use it,’ says Katie.

Katie’s business really came into its own during lockdown when she was spending more time at home and everyone around her was decluttered their homes, purging old but beloved clothing items. Her orders quadrupled, with most of her customers getting in touch via Instagram. ‘I get so excited when someone DMs me about a new project. I’ve just finished making clutch bags for three sisters using a shirt that belonged to their late father – it’s an honour to work on such a special project.’

So, if you’re looking for a unique gift for one of your stylish friends, tap up Katie – who’s currently under a mound of off-cut fabrics at her dining room table.

Authentic Chinese take-out

Homemade authentic Chinese dishes made with fresh ingredients (YUM), say hello to Kitchen East.

Kitchen East operates a weekend food delivery service serving up the best kept homemade family recipes from Jeff Chen, an East Village resident who grew up in Hangzhou, a city near to Shanghai.

Jeff started cooking when he moved to London for university, ‘I love London but it has been really hard to find authentic, good quality Chinese food that’s made with fresh ingredients. This is what inspired me to start Kitchen East in 2020.’

Jeff and his partner Patrick Littler launched the business from their own kitchen during lockdown and have been selling out weekly since May. Their menu of 13 family recipes includes dishes like Grandma’s Spring Rolls filled with pork and carrot to Crispy Sea Bass served with Asian mayo, Chilli Fried Chicken, Ginger Soy Chicken, Sticky Pork Ribs, Sticky Tofu and Char Sui Pork & Rice. Prices start from just £3 for light bites through to £7 for mains.

Make your order via Instagram and choose a delivery slot between 5pm-9m Saturday & Sunday.

Orders over £25 come with free Egg Fried Rice, plus there’s free delivery for all East Village, Stratford and Hackney Wick residents. With a 5* Hygiene Rating from Newham Council, and an ever-expanding list of satisfied (returning) customers we think it’s time to order takeout.

Irresistible vegan candles

Makes Scents candles by Abbey White was launched in June this year after furloughed Abbey hand poured her own candles with a DIY set gifted to her by a friend lockdown.

After realising she was pretty good at it, Abbey experimented with vegan (soy wax) candles to develop seven signature floral fragrances (we’re torn between Tonka & Tobacco Flower and Blackberry & Bay Leaf) which includes three limited edition scents for Winter: Pumpkin Spice, Winter Spice and Apple & Cinnamon candles.

All candles are reusable – orders come with a packet of wildflower seeds so that you can upcycle the holders – making them the perfect gift that keeps on giving.

Abbey began selling her candles on Etsy and they’re now also stocked at Aura Organics Spa at Here East; ‘Aura Organics at Here East has been incredibly supportive, I’ve had several repeat orders which I hand deliver – it’s been a lovely way to interact with customers.’

Candles start from £5.99 up to £18.99 for large three-wick candles. They’ll make beautiful Christmas gifts.

Almost too good to eat

Next up is recipe creator and pastry chef Isla who sells her stunning bakes to the village and surrounding areas through her Instagram account and online here.

Classically trained in her native South Africa, Isla has been honing her craft as a pastry chef in a number of restaurants in London over the last seven years.

Veraciously proud of her South African roots, many of her bakes bring the South African flavours, like her signature Orange, Rooibos and Rosemary Blondies (12 for £30).

With gluten free and vegan options her colourful cakes, pastries and buns can be ordered in batches of 6 or 12.

And if you want to challenge yourself to recreate some of South Africa’s traditional national dishes like Vetkoek, a golden doughball filled with curried mince, or Bobotie, a version of moussaka with a spicy mince base, topped with egg custard and bay leaves, her delicious recipes can be found on her website.

Three course restaurant quality food delivered

Your Village Chef is the brainchild of chef Alan Broe, a Michelin trained chef, and his vegan wife Sasha Davies who offer restaurant quality food to enjoy in your own home.

Alan trained at Cordon Bleu & Ballymaloe and has worked in kitchens for 15-years across Australia, England, France & Ireland. Having lived between Hackney Wick & Stratford for the past 6 years the couple saw lockdown as an opportunity to serve their local community with locally sourced produce, rustled up into dinner party worthy plates in a commercial kitchen they rent in East London.

After surveying neighbours to understand what they were hungry for, Alan and Sasha came up with the concept of creating weekly themed three-course menus, putting dinner parties firmly back on the agenda.

At £40 for two people, meals can be pre-ordered and collected or delivered from Friday afternoon. The husband and wife duo are also working on a selection of freezer meals with easy reheat instructions that will be available to order soon; ‘So far villagers have given exceptional feedback and Your Village Chef is looking at ways to start local partnerships, for example incorporating the amazing East Village honey into future menus,’ says Alan.

Inspired art

ArchiPrintsShop is the beautiful graphic handywork of architect Ellen Manterfield. Ellen has worked as an architect for over 10 years at WATG with projects that include the iconic Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. ‘I love designing spaces and forms for the future that will leave an imprint on this earth long after I am gone,’ says Ellen.

After being furloughed earlier this year Ellen began designing architectural graphic prints of her favourite buildings with pop-art style pastel backgrounds.

Each Archi Prints design is inspired by a building of importance to Ellen from the Brighton Pavilion, which she visits every year for the open house art studios, to the Atomium in Brussels where she and her now-husband had their first romantic getaway.

The London (former Olympic) Stadium is the latest in the collection, available on Etsy now (in a variety of sizes and colours). That’s the bare wall in the living room sorted then.

Ellen Manterfield

Ellen lives in East Village, London with her husband and Cava-poo, Waffle. She is a qualified architect with a keen interest in photography.

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