Petit Miracles launch party – guest blog by Dawn Newton

Petit Miracles Launch photos_9252997353_l

I had the pleasure of attending the Petit Miracles launch party, it was a night to remember. Here are my five reasons why.


1. The team – rarely do you encounter a group who really do all pull together when it matters to bring an event to life, the event may have seemed effortless but it was weeks of work and help from more than 20 people and many late nights to get everything just so. I think the reason for this is that everyone involved in the shop believes in it’s mission to give furniture & people a second chance.

2. The venue – the shop which has been given free by the shopping centre landlord Land securities may have been a McDonalds in a past life but Elisicia and her team have transformed it into a vibrant space jam packed with new ideas and beautiful furniture. As soon as you walk into the space you can tell that it is a special place, you get a warm welcome and see the bespoke and one off pieces and funky décor.  The shop is shared with Healthy Planet so it also has a books for free section where you can pick up 3 free books. GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

3. The guests – I have been to hundreds of events and have never been to one with such a diverse range of people, all waxing lyrical about the amazing work Petit Miracles does everyday. I spoke to quite a few people, they were all really interesting with their own stories and reasons for loving the cause ranging from the employability opportunity, environmental benefits of upcycling, artists & creatives interested in interior design and innovation, crafty types who love the unique pieces, business partners who love seeing the positive impact it is having on the local community. I know Elisicia was really honoured that the Mayor of Hammersmith came along to the event and made a short speech congratulating them on the beautiful shop (she loved the upcycled denim jeans chair).


4. The small touches –  I have a theory that with events it is often the details which make it really special, Elisicia had a vision for the event and the team worked really hard to make that a reality. Brand new window dressing, special displays indoors, real time visual minutes, name badges to encourage networking, guests could sign the pink welcome table and describe PMI in one word, will displays with the people that are part of the team and their stories (several of which are unemployed and Elisicia is teaching them how to refurbish furniture – they volunteer in the shop)  and they even GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAhad a DJ.


Mayor arrives and greeted by Cyrus Annan, Manager of Land Securitie’s West 12 Shopping Centre Shepherds Bush




5. The Speech – it must be said that the event had plenty of heart, if you are lucky enough to meet / work with Elisicia you will instantly know what I mean. She works tirelessly to help others and rescue furniture from landfill. So as you can imagine her speech was brilliant and her list of people to thank was very long, it was really emotional and shows that so much of the work within the shop is about people connecting again, whether it’s the volunteer team, or members of public who come in regularly.

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Event Storify:

Petit Miracles website:

We had a little visit from the folks at Project Dirt

First of all, it must be said, Project Dirt is a pretty wicked name for an eco-organisation!!
Right that aside, they do some pretty cool things to and this is what they say about themselves:

Project Dirt was set up by a couple of mates (Mark and Nick) to make green living easier and more understandable. We wanted to facilitate sustainable activity taking place and to make the learning more accessible. We also believed green living should be an upgrade, it should be fun – and it should be progressive. So, Project Dirt was started on its first test site in Clapham Junction in April 2008, with 1 project and 5 members. The Project Dirt community grew over the next few years through word of mouth alone to reach 5,000 members by early 2012. The site provides individuals, community groups, companies, organisations and the government (mainly local authorities) a platform to come together and work on tangible green projects.

So anyhoodles, now that we are considered an eco-charity *hear our collective eco-warrior hurrah* we were paid a visit by the lovely Friederike. We chatted about all things green…not really, I am a techno-idiot so she came out to walk me through their site and all its capabilities. Then shot a quick video of me and the shop. Warning, a seriously over-exposed Elisicia is not a pretty Elisicia:

If you are a Londoner and curious about green projects near you, I suggest signing up to their community, which you can do here:

Some ideas we are keen to try out………

Upcycled airline trolley diy_ombrechair_2 Tree stump table hairpin legs 007 DSCN1828_preview

Bringing Petit Miracles to the people

Our shop, located on the first floor, in our opinion, is the best shop eva! However, footfall is rather low at times. So, to bring some footfall upstairs we took our lovely furniture to the passersby on the ground floor. We met loads of people interested in our workshops and successfully managed to bring people upstairs to check out our shop. If at West12 you will see our shining, happy faces weekly now so keep your eye out, sometimes we have treats to share.

We’re open, open, open, open – A little excited to be open!!!

Thanks to everyone for your patience while renovations took place. We have been camping out at various locations in the West12 Shopping Centre. We will continue to have a presence in the Mama Biashara unit until early May however, please visit us in our main shop where most of our furniture pieces and workshop is located. Looking forward to seeing you soon and a couple of photos of the shop with more to come!

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Something exciting is about to happen…..

Now, if I might say so myself, that looks pretty damn fab! This is the new shop, that we already moved into, had to vacate and are now moving back into….still with me? We expect to be open within the next 2 weeks. Just need to sort out our furniture suppliers and move our workshop back into the space. We will be sharing the space with Healthy Planet, Books for Free again so if you aren’t in the mood for super cool, bespoke upcycled furniture, than come in for a free book.

Collaborative Creation, so that’s what I have been doing for the last year!

It’s good to know that there are people out there, more eloquent than I, who are also trying to build a new way of doing business with a serious sense of collaboration. When I started Design Bank it was to create a space that was shared by the people who used the space with an integral and intrinsic pay-it-forward culture. The concept was that people would initially come to learn from me, then me learn from them, then the them would learn from each other (see what I mean about lacking eloquence) we all make cool stuff, sell it to support the project all whilst building our own mini neo-capitalist eco-system. This is a great article on just that, it describes the maker movement as more than just a community of people who like to knit. It describes, what I believe to be a seismic shift in people realising their skills and talents and realising their potential. I may be so bold to say that we are endeavoring to build a new currency based on those skills that distributes wealth amongst all those willing to participate.


Article Link:

A sneak peak of the new shop!

A sneak peak of the new shop!

West12 here we come!

Finally the time has come. After our successful 6 month pop-up shop, we are opening a permanent shop back in the West12 Shopping Centre. Located on the first floor you will find the same great workshops on offer and beautiful reclaimed and upcycled wares. To make it happen we are looking for more great volunteers in the following areas:

-Tutors/trainers/teachers with furniture restoration experience.
-We are also looking to exhibit eco-friendly, upcycling fashion designers who may want to showcase their designs within our shop.
-Any and all artists/creative types that want to contribute to our pop-up shop experience.
-Qualified builders to offer DIY workshops to vulnerable adults and at risk youth. Teaching the health and safety and basic DIY tasks.
-Qualified builder to help with the set-up of the pop-up shop.

We believe that volunteering needs to be mutually beneficial. We have loads of tasks, skills needed and are happy to offer references, share your work with our wider network, and if applicable, you can use this as opportunity to enhance your portfolio.

The shop is due to open 28 January with trading to commence on 30 Jan so we we will need all the help we can get to make it happen.

Please get in touch, if you or anyone you know, who may be interested.

A link to help you find us:

Looking forward to seeing you at the shop!

A new year a new shop.

Happy New Year!

Not sure if I am alone in this, but the advent of each year has its own particular feel.  I have never felt this to be more true than in the last 4 years. In 2009, 17 years later I, and many others in my circle, understood the Queens sentiment of Annus horribilis.  Thankfully every year, since 2009, has improved greatly. This year I am looking forward to an Annus Mirabilis, just because it feels like its going to be a  good one. Now, obviously the Mayans screwed up a little with their predictions of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, but perhaps not all was lost, possibly we have entered a new era, a time when we make a truce with the earth and live harmoniously again….OK, well, probably not, but there is a new hope and I hope we all feel it.  This little blog note has put this song in my head:

When the moon is in the Seventh House And Jupiter aligns with Mars……….(cannot remember the words)………….The Age of Aquarius, Aquarius! Aquarius!

OK seriously, apparently I am easily digressed today, I started this blog entry aiming to chat about the new shop.

So, new news is that we hope to be open by 28 January (18 sleeps) this is the latest date we have been given by the present occupiers who are waiting for works to be completed in their new location.  I will keep you posted via this blog if anything changes.  We have loads of fun and creative projects this year and hope all of you come down and get your creative needs met with a workshop.  And who knows, with the sentiment I have at the moment I may look like one of these lovely folks when you see me next 😉  Either way, it would be an improvement to my usual scruffy workshop attire.

Hair Tour