Log In

Shop Small Saturday: Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Take a virtual tour of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, the magical independent boutique offering quality goods to monsters of all kinds.

Welcome to Shop Small Saturdays, a feature where we celebrate our community of independent boutiques, from Bath to Berlin.

Just a stone's throw away from Shoreditch in London, waiting to be discovered is a rather magical independent boutique: Hoxton Street Monster Supplies. Priding themselves on being London’s - and quite possibly the world’s - only purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind. From Olde Fashioned Brain Jam, to Salt Made from Tears of Boredom and Bottled London Smog, the brand creates ghoulish takes on everyday pantry items, from sweet treats to deli delights.

Since 2010, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies has donated all profits to its creative writing and mentoring charity Ministry of Stories, with the shop serving as a place of creative inspiration for children that attend creative writing activities after school and on Saturdays every week. The shop also offers retail training to its volunteers and interns and provides references for CVs, helping to build the careers of the next generation of retailers.

Running the show are two incredibly dedicated part-time staff members and a small army of volunteer shopkeepers, product-builders and fulfilment-helpers. We sat down with Panagiota, the brains behind the mission, to chat about a typical day, their invisible cat, Wells, and what the Ministry of Stories is up to at the moment.

“There seems to be a Friday routine where our monsters and volunteers make a mess of the main space behind our secret door -  gremlins building products for our shop or our zombie team buried in straw while packing our online orders. As a result, our Saturday morning starts with a clean up ready for the little humans to come for their morning writing labs. We usually get to the space around 10am. The first thing we do is to make coffee for our volunteers, or howl if we don't have any booked in for the day.

Then, after the clean-up, we put our aprons and music on, tidy up the shelves, fill in our shopkeeper's log (we are very traditional and we like it!) and open the doors for the curious humans and monster customers, and also our young writers, who use our shop's secret door to enter their world of imagination and writing.

Occasionally you will hear (but not see!) our invisible cat, Wells, purring, meowing and dropping invisible hair around the place to tickle the noses of unsuspecting visitors. Thankfully we don’t need to worry about keeping the milk saucer full - one of our regular customers sponsors his food through their donation to the Ministry of Stories. One less thing to pay for!”

“90% of our products are bespoke. We do our own product development, product sourcing, design and copy and lots of our products we build them on our own, in house, such as our signature Tinned Fear range. We like to keep our claws busy. Apart from our long standing partnerships with bigger scale companies for some of our sweets, we aim to work with suppliers that are small businesses, family-owned, women-owned or very local.

One of our customers, actor Colin Firth, had this lovely thing to say about us: “When you buy one of their tins of fear, or jars of brain jam, you don’t just get a great stocking filler or something to liven up your breakfast table, you know that you’re helping to support the business and the imagination of the next generation.”

Our top selling product is the Thickest Human Snot. It's absolutely disgusting(ly delicious) and everyone loves it! We pair it often with our Sugar Dusted Bogies and our Seasonal Bogies that we harvest from humans who suffer from hay fever. My personal favourites? Toasted Bone Chunks and our Swamp Spa Set for river hags and swamp things!”

“We are based in Hoxton Street in Hackney -  not a typical high-end shopping district, which can present a commercial and retail challenge as our products are, understandably, not the top of our local community’s shopping list. Still, we do what we can to include our young people in the shop so they can enjoy our offering, without feeling they’re missing out.

Most recently we’ve invited young people to help us to write monster product reviews. We also run a postal service, which allows little humans to write to lonely monsters and receive an original reply and currently at low cost, this will be free to local families by the end of the year.”

“There are lots of places we love in our area. Starting with the ones that feed us such as Monalicious, The Barrel Boulangerie, the Howl at the Moon Pub and Olive Pizza. There’s a traditional mash and pie shop at the other end of the street and a fish and chip shop that serves your chips in a paper cone! 

We are also good friends of The Hoxton Trust Gardens who hosted our Unexpected Poetry project, Peer Gallery, Hoxton Hall, Shoreditch Library and my all time favourite (as a bookivore monster) the Wyvern Bookbinders who have recently offered to help us with cutting, shearing and trimming printed material we need and who will help us to create a beautiful guest book for the shop.”

Shop Hoxton Street Monster Supplies now on Trouva or follow them on Instagram.

A little bit about the Ministry of Stories:
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is the trading arm of the Ministry of Stories, a creative writing and mentoring charity which can be found hidden behind a secret door in the shop’s shelves. The shop is designed to embody the brilliance of storytelling, and to bring imagination to life. 

The proceeds from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies support our children’s writing charity The Ministry of Stories. Founded in 2010 by Nick Hornby, Lucy Macnab, Ben Payne and Alistair Hall, the store is modelled on Dave Eggers’ 826 Valencia, which pairs an imaginatively-themed retail space with a community-based children’s writing project. 

Since the charity was founded, all profits from the store have helped tens of thousands of children from Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets benefit from after-school writing clubs, story-making workshops (from which junior writers come away as published authors), lyric-writing sessions, speech-making labs and more. The Ministry’s young writers have created street poetry events, visions of the Hoxton of the future, and even designed a full-scale, life-size fully functioning Escape Room for local families to play for free this summer. The charity delivers writing programmes in its writing centre in Hoxton and out in schools across East London. Despite the continued impact of the pandemic, last year the Ministry of Stories proudly supported 3,732 children and young people to become writers. This is more than double the year before. Trusted Site