Cool ‘70s vibes, pared-back décor and a quality of homeware you won’t find anywhere else this side of Scandanavia – meet Muscari Store
Trust us – you need to know about this Ouseburn-based lifestyle brand...
We suppose you could say that North East neighbours Amy Richardson and Donna Hughes first started their joint business venture in the back lane that separates their homes.
After all, that’s where they’d meet for long chats into the night about their dream careers, back when Muscari Store was just a twinkle in each of their eyes.
Fast-forward just a few short years and a global pandemic, and now Muscari Store has brand new premises right in the heart of the Ouseburn Valley, in Newcastle’s thriving cultural quarter, as well as an online store that has helped the business to boom during lockdown.
Surrounded by like-minded creatives and entrepreneurs, and now reaching hundreds of homeowners in the region, it’s safe to say that Amy and Donna’s back lane dreams of owning their own homeware and lifestyle brand have very much become a reality. And then some.
Inspired by cool, Japandi vibes – that’s the modern combo of Scandinavian design and an elegant Japanese aesthetic, FYI – pared-back décor and a passion for only the highest-quality products, Amy and Donna have created a home decorator’s haven in Hoults Yard. That’s why we knew we had to catch up with the dynamic duo to find out just that little bit more…
What is the Muscari Store all about?
[Donna] Here at Muscari Store, we have a carefully curated curated collection of homeware, lifestyle, gifts and dried flowers, which all bring a pop of culture to the vibrant Hoults Yard, on the outskirts of Ouesburn.
Inspired by concept stores in Amsterdam, we stock homeware designers like HK Living, Nordal and Kinto, alongside some local favourites from right here in the North East.
What made you decide to start up the business together?
[Amy] Donna and I are neighbours and actually formed the partnership in our back lane! We created Muscari Store after sister brand, Muscari Events, started to suffer due to the pandemic. We started in a small unit and opened for only three months because of the regular lockdowns. Because of that, after Christmas we made the decision not to reopen the store and to focus solely on our online store; a few months later, the amazing premises that we now have at Hoults Yard was up for grabs and it was so hard to say no. Everything about our new store is just perfect for us.
Why is Ouseburn the perfect place for Muscari?
[Donna] Ouseburn is such a diverse part of Newcastle, full of the coolest independents in the North. We just knew it was the place for us and our customers. We originally started in a tiny space in another part of Hoults Yard – that was just going to be a studio where Amy ran Muscari Events – but then when the pandemic hit and so she turned it into a small shop. Once we opened, we gained a lot of support from the local community. After making the decision to move premises, we knew we still wanted to stay at Hoults Yard because of that support.
And what can we expect from the in-store experience at Muscari?
[Amy] A fresh shopping experience. It’s a cool, bright space and it smells amazing – thanks to Dovecote Northumberland. Our homewares and gifts are unique to the North East, we have one huge dried flower bar and loads of disco – think disco music, disco balls and disco bouquets!
Dried, wild and everlasting flowers are a big part of your homeware offering. What attracted you to working with these in particular?
[Amy] I fell in love with pampas grass back in 2017 and started using it in all of my arrangements at weddings and open days for my other company, Muscari Events.
It’s such a versatile and cost-effective product, because it lasts so long – which means you could have seasonal arrangements, and rotate them for years.
Muscari’s style is so cool! How do you choose which products you stock?
[Donna] Thank you! We love Danish and Scandi design, so we have went straight to the source and targeted some of coolest homeware suppliers in Europe – HKLiving currently being our biggest. It’s super easy to pick the stock when it’s all so unique and stylish.
The other side of our supply chain comes from local and British creators who we generally find on social media. This side of the business is much harder, as there’s so much talent out there!
What are your favourite Muscari pieces right now?
[Amy] It’s so hard to pick just one, we love them all! But if I did have to choose, it would have to be either the donut vase that sits in our Japandi section, or the printed Terrazzo yoga mat. I think I’m the bee’s knees when I take it to the gym!
[Donna] I have two favorites at the moment. The Abel Burner is a beautiful, handmade essential oil burner and has received so much attention in our store. I also love HK Living’s porcelain vases – I have this cute set of four which all sit nicely on my fireplace, creating a stunning focal point.
We’re also both obsessed with Dovecote’s dark honey and tobacco scent range. It’s the best smelling product we have used in our homes, and everyone else who buys it from us seems to agree!
What are your top tips for anyone looking to give their living space a boost?
[Donna] Get a plant (or three!) – not only will a plant give your space a fresh, more natural look, but it’s also guaranteed to make you feel happier in yourself, too.
For a punch of positivity, add in a few brightly-coloured accessories, such as pillows or throws. Warm your space with candles, too – the soft glow of a candle can add a sense of ease to any space and creates a soothing ambience, while adding a little luxe. If you’re after any more inspo, pop into the store – we have heaps of products and ideas!
When you’re not working, where in the North East are you most likely to be?
[Donna] Out and about with our boys, enjoying some quality family time. We love getting our walking boots on and discovering Northumberland. Craster to Low Newton is our favourite walk at the moment. Castles and coastline – perfect!
[Amy] Our favourite place is the coast. We especially love Tynemouth – and hope to move there one day.
What are your ambitions for the future of Muscari?
[Amy] We’re hoping to offer our space out to local crafters, artists, and wellness practitioners so that they can hold workshops and exhibitions here. With family commitments and full-time jobs, it’s not possible for us to open the store seven days a week, so we thought what better way to use the space while the store is closed? Especially in the evenings. We’re already in talks with some amazing women who are wanting to expand their businesses, so we’re keen to collaborate with other small independents.
Or pop by and say hello: Muscari Store, Teapot 1, The Pattern Shop, Hoults Yard, Walker Road, Newcastle NE6 2HLVisit Muscari Store