Mother and daughter-run hidden gem in the heart of Alnmouth supports local artists and designers

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Tucked away down the side of a pub in the coastal village of Alnmouth is the mother and daughter-run hidden gem, Jane & Harry’s.

During the Covid pandemic, Jane and Harriet (Harry) McHugh opened their lifestyle gift shop next to their family-run pub, The Red Lion.

The shop brings the creative minds of 14 local artists and designers to the village, including their own brands Plain Jane and Just Harry.

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For Harry, getting a foundation diploma at Newcastle College and a first class honours degree in Fashion Design and Realisation at Leeds College of Art unlocked a passion for working with pre-existing garments and reconstructing them into her own designs.

Harriett (Harry) McHugh runs the lifestyle shop Jane & Harry's with her mum.Harriett (Harry) McHugh runs the lifestyle shop Jane & Harry's with her mum.
Harriett (Harry) McHugh runs the lifestyle shop Jane & Harry's with her mum.

Harry was unknowingly setting herself up for a journey into becoming a sustainable fashion designer.

It all started seven years ago with a patchwork denim jacket in a living room in London, where Harry began interning at the shoe company Miista, whilst working in retail at Urban Outfitters.

The jacket was only ever meant to be a personal project but, after getting commission after commission, an idea quickly turned into a business.

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Harry said: “I started wearing it to work, and out and about. I got loads of compliments on it so I thought, do you know what? Maybe I have an alleyway into something here.”

After a friend suggested ASOS Marketplace, an online platform that allows independent businesses and vintage boutiques to sell their products, Harry got to work.

Harry explained: "I had my jacket and then I started designing bags, purses, bucket hats, accessories and in a couple of different textiles. Between all of that, I'd managed to curate a collection of 15 different pieces.”

And just like that, Just Harry was live and selling.

However, as with many creative endeavours, the process of making each product was a timing consuming one. Unpicking the jeans, making out all the fabric, cutting out pattern pieces, and finally constructing the garment meant one jacket took 30 hours to create.

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"So I went down to part time,” Harry added. “But living in London is really expensive. They were offering me more hours, but I really wanted to focus on this.

“My mum said to me, you need to figure out what you want to do. She said you can stay down in London and you can work for somebody else or do you want to come back up north and give your business a go?”

Not wanting to spend her life pondering the big question ‘what if?’ Harry moved back to Northumberland and has since grown her brand and collection whilst also helping with the shop.

Harry continued: "It was a big change, but I realised that I much preferred the slower pace of life.

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"Up here, everybody's really nice and they all want to help you and spread the word”

Harry’s mum, Jane, started making her Plain Jane candles in the lockdown and always wanted a gift shop. With both having something to sell and Harry’s local connections from years of markets, the shop was a no brainer and became a platform.

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