Today is Small Business Saturday and, to mark the occasion, we’re celebrating some of our favourite local businesses. Whether you want to give someone the gift of a new hobby, something to satisfy their inner foodie, or a one-off experience, we hope this gift guide will help you find something special for someone special from one of Reading’s best small businesses. And what’s more, each of them deliver nationwide, so even if you don’t live locally to Reading, you can still buy and support small!
What makes these businesses so brilliant are the real, passionate people behind them. And this, in-turn, makes their products so unique and full of care. If you do end up purchasing, know that you will be making the small team that create and deliver your product personally happy.
Elliott Hamer Design – Spoon Blank Set
You may or may not be aware of Elliott’s Etsy shop but, if you have visited TimeTrap, you have almost definitely come across his work in one way or another. Elliott has been involved in all of our current experiences, having started working with us on The Divide back in 2018. He brings a new level of craftsmanship and detail that we wouldn’t be able to achieve without him.
Elliott’s Etsy shop is full of beautifully handmade wooden goods, from chopping boards to coat racks, and all fashioned from sustainable timber. Absolutely everything makes a wonderful gift, however, one of Elliott’s best sellers is actually something that has barely been touched by him… His spoon blanks (and his accompanying spoon carving guide) are intended to bring joy by turning the owner into the maker, and you get the plus of having a handcrafted spoon at the end of it. Who wouldn’t want the double gift of a new skill and a beautiful and practical addition to the kitchen?
Buy your spoon blanks from: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ElliottHamerDesign
Craft Box Club – Craft Subscription
Another local business with a TimeTrap connection, Craft Box Club (or Make Space, as it was called then), hosted their first ever in-person craft event at our Friar Street venue way back in 2018. Since then they have gone from strength to strength, even with Covid putting a stop to these types of events. That’s because there was a silver lining, and Craft Box Club pivoted to a subscription service that got even more people crafting in their own homes.
Adam, the person behind the brand, wanted to make crafting accessible to all, while also keeping all of his packaging plastic-free – something disappointingly rare in the craft world. The recipient of a subscription receives a different craft to get stuck into every month, each with a dedicated video showing exactly how to make it. Subscriptions can run for 3, 6 or 12 months, and until the 5th December, Craft Box Club is throwing in an extra month for free on purchases of these! So pop this on your Christmas present list for that avid crafter or the creative that never takes the time to make time for themself.
Buy your Craft Box Club subscription from: https://craftboxclub.co.uk/
Clays Hyderabadi Kitchen – Nationwide Delivery
At Clays they were already making a big name for themselves locally in their 21 months of business before the pandemic hit. Like many other hospitality operators, they had to adapt quickly and find a way to keep afloat. They did this, and then some, with their nationwide home delivery. As Nandana and Sharat put it “if we couldn’t make our customers feel at home in our restaurant, we would try to bring our food to their homes instead.”
By cooking and blast-chilling their authentic regional Hyderabadi food, and delivering all over the country, vacuum-packed and ready to eat, Clays are now not only getting praise locally, but from far and wide. This has included some famous names such as Jay Rayner, Tom Parker Bowles and William Sitwell, among others. So for the sake of the flavour-lover in your life, pick up one of their curries and pop it under the tree (or better still, in the fridge).
Buy your Clays at home from: https://www.clayskitchen.co.uk/collections/
Fidget and Bob – Ding-a-Ling
Almost certainly the most Reading-y gift on this list is the aptly named Ding-a-Ling from Fidget and Bob. Shuet and Breege are the people behind this delightful café, situated on Kennet Island in Reading. They have become well-known for their freshly-made breakfasts, brunches and lunches, as well as their first-class hospitality, all the while using only the best local ingredients and suppliers.
The Ding-a-Ling is a curation of some of the best produce from in and around Reading. Your lucky chosen friend, family member or (very fancy) Secret Santa will get seven artisan products, showcasing the very best of ‘The Ding’ in a lovely Fidget and Bob bag – yum.
Buy your Ding-A-Ling from: https://www.fidgetandbob.co.uk/
Escape Room Vouchers
Of course, we couldn’t round off this blog without mentioning escape rooms! We say this a lot (and may be biased) but an escape room experience makes THE BEST Christmas present. The gift of time travel is pretty cool, whoever you are! – and we know there’s always that someone who just hasn’t gotten round to trying one yet. They’re also perfect for the person who doesn’t want any more ‘stuff’, a joint present for the family of many ages and interests, and that friend you know will take you along with them. Our game vouchers let the recipient choose whichever experience they want to jump into, and with an 18-month validity, that could be one that doesn’t even exist yet! Want to find out a bit more about the small team you’ll be supporting with each purchase of a voucher? Check out the ‘Our Team’ page here.
And did you know, we’re not the only independent escape room venue in Reading? There’s also Deadlocked, headed by Charlie and James, Escape Reading, headed by Tamas and Timea, and Knockout, headed by Andy and Janine. All bring a unique quality to the Reading escape room scene and each have been lovingly created by a small but skilled team. Considering we’re ‘competition’, we even like each other – here’s some of the friendly faces that make up your Reading indie escape room scene.
Christmas shopping can be a little stressful but we hope that we’ve provided you with some inspiration and made it that little bit easier. Remember, the businesses listed here are just a few of the many great independents in Reading so, wherever you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year, shop small where you can – there’s a real person behind each fabulously unique brand.