There's nothing better than uncovering a hidden gem, and you'll definitely be in for a treat if you take a trip to MoonKo in Sheffield. We caught up with Debbie to find out a little more about what makes them so unique...
How did MoonKo come about?
When I became a mum for the first time, I was torn between going back to work and doing something I was passionate about, whilst spending as much time as I could with my little one. Being an artist myself I know how hard it is commercially to make money and make an income, so I wanted to provide a platform in which I could support graduates, students still studying etc. From there it just evolved and grew, from a small idea to something I am really proud of and love.
Have you always had an interest in design?
I have always loved design, which probably comes from my background. My dad is an amazing garden designer, who has done the odd Chelsea Flower show. He has a passion for simplicity and likes being surrounded by beautiful objects and floral influences, which has definitely rubbed off on me! I love the unique quality and quirkiness that British design brings to creative sector. It’s inventive, intuitive, not afraid to be bold, ask questions and be controversial as well as incredibly commercial.
What do you think of the growing Arts scene in Sheffield? How does the shop fit into this? Sheffield is an amazing place (although I am a Brightonian) and I’ve lived here for 15 years, it’s my home. It’s wonderful. It feels more like a village then a city - with the peaks on your door step. It’s such a creative place and always has been, it’s just more folks are taking notice. It’s full of little hubs, in the old industrial quarters where artists, makers, musicians are creating, recording and getting noticed. The shop is based on a Division Street,where there are lots of wonderful independent shops. and sits in an old 1960s prefab building, with the remnants of Sheffield past round every corner. The folks of Sheffield have been so supportive of our shop; it showcases lots of up and coming design, textiles, ceramics, home-ware you name it, from Sheffield and around the British isles. We also have regular pop up shops and exhibitions. My passion is for MoonKo to showcase such amazing work, that folks take notice, that here in Sheffield, there are beautiful and commercial wares being made.
How does MoonKo work together with emerging talent?
I do lots of things outside of the shop, working with great organisations and charities, such as Ghost of Gone Birds and The ONCA gallery. I work with emerging talent , not just sales in a shop context, but exhibitions, commissions etc.
How do you see Moonko in 5 years’ time?
Wow, MoonKo in five years… there is a thought. Well, I would love to see more MoonKo shops open. Hopefully MoonKo will grow, supporting more amazing makers, creating jobs and supporting charities.
What's next for Moonko?
Lots of lovely MoonKo products and collaborations... watch this Space!
Interview byVictoria Rodrigues O’Donnell