By Sarah McKenna

Anya Mart

A tomato ketchup candle – or perhaps the scent of Fanta Orange is more your cup of tea? Retail nostalgia reaches new heights at Anya Hindmarch’s latest iteration of her Pont Street corner store, trading as Anya Mart until April 7th 2024.

The store prides itself on offering “your everyday non-essentials”. Anya Mart is a showcase of a selection of iconic home-and-pantry, beauty and household brands, re-fashioned into objects of consumer desire.

anya mart inside

Rediscover Childhood Brands

The entry-level miniature version of Hindmarch’s popular Universal tote bag sold out in the first few days of opening according to the charming staff members we spoke to! Both of whom are, rather wonderfully from my point of view, called Sarah. Purchases are packaged with care, using jauntily-striped and stamped paper bags and branded stickers created specifically for the five-week pop-up.

Everyday Essentials at Anya Mart
Sprite Fanta Pyjamas

New Season Frostie’s silk pyjamas – naturally, “they’re gr-r-reat!” – sell for £645. They sit alongside more accessibly priced trinkets such as the Lurpak Butter keyring or tote bag charm (£175).

Everyone’s favourite curved crisp brand, Pringles, is celebrated by way of an extravagantly-sequinned miniature evening bag (£895) and an elegant pair of Bowhill & Elliot handmade slippers (£595).

It’s perhaps this consistent juxtapositioning of the quotidian and the luxurious that is so compelling. Humour is the common thread running through the store, its messaging, and its product range. 

Pringles Slippers and Purse
leather keychain
shop till you drop sign

Signage is, at first glance, commensurate with corner store standard templates, featuring plus-size copy and promotional posters heroing single items. A closer look rewards the reader with witty commentary; satsumas are offered on a “buy one get one FULL price” basis and proudly caveated with a subversion of John Lewis’s erstwhile customer promise: “never knowingly SOLD ANY!”. Potatoes are “£99 EACH…EEK!!!”, tomato soup is described as “warm, reddish and vibrant” and a 400g can of onions is available for an “eye-wateringly low price”.

An Anya Filled Day

Later on the same day we visited Selfridges’s new joke shop installation: 

Joke Shop Anya
joke shop display

We noticed a similar tone of voice in posters advertising “canned air” containing “high levels of luxury” for £2.99 and “all airs, no graces” whoopee cushions, yours for just £3.

This playful tone of voice is pleasantly pervasive. Back at Anya Mart, an A-frame safety sign advises customers to be cautious – and to “shop till you drop”. Trolleys – almost certainly intended more as props to dress the space than for practical use – reinforce the corner store ambiance. Visitors can have fun here – enjoying the visual delights, nostalgia, and sense of rediscovering a forgotten brand – without buying anything. That said, plenty of visitors are turning into customers, with a number of products already sold out.

Shopping being thirsty work, we repaired next door to Anya’s Café for flat whites. They came with charming postage-stamp sized shortbread biscuits proudly bearing King Charles’s profile and sugar cubes encased in paper wrapping featuring Anya’s celebrated ‘eyes’.

As with the Anya Mart, every detail was considered, delightful and surprising. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

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