This week we meandered down Fore St to visit Hayley and Nathan Maker at their much-loved second home: No Guts No Glory. NGNG is a houseplant, design and lifestyle shop, as well as a treasured chill zone to escape busy city life and enjoy a coffee and a good read.
Nathan began the NGNG venture in 2009 at a tiny space in the McCoy’s Arcade. His goal was to create a platform for his creative friends to showcase their work. He came into contact with Hayley around a year later, becoming pen pals for six months before they met and ultimately Hayley moving to Exeter to join the NGNG team. A combination of creative talents and Nathan’s aptitude for business meant that the shop flourished and has since made its way to a third Fore St home. The expansion has allowed the pair to fill the space with an ever-growing collection of their favourite things including books, magazines, artwork, cards, clothing, jewellery, macramé, gifts, plants, a picture framing studio and a space to host creative workshops.
For Nathan and Hayley, one of the most gratifying parts of the NGNG journey has been to witness the growth of its independent artists. Several of workshops have triggered artistic inspiration and a ‘lightbulb moment’ has occurred for attendees. For some they’ve since built a full-time career from a part-time hobby. Have you ever spotted the charming cat illustrations printed on bags, artwork, pins and cards by local artist Niaski (Nia Gould)? Frida Catlo and her feline friends can now be seen globally in stores and online. Nia’s inspiration for these wonderful designs was first sparked at a screen-printing workshop in the art space at NGNG.
The ethos of NGNG is to encourage well-being and sustainability in every day life, and to create the best environment by filling it with beautiful, unique things which last a lifetime. Nathan and Hayley love things which are handmade, things that grow, the slow-living approach to life, how that can be explored and wish to inspire others to explore that way of life too.
“We’ve lived through an era of fast fashion, fast food and fast living and it’s clear that people are craving nature, the things which truly make you feel good. The recent return to wellbeing and mindfulness, for a lot of people, it feels like they’re returning to their past, perhaps their childhood. We seek to encourage the awareness of all-things-green and the importance of environment, both personal and in general.”
Hayley and Nathan ensure that their own personalities are intertwined with every aspect of the shop, which isn’t hard to see as tranquil air and green energy acts as your first encounter at the door. Next time you’re popping into town, take the time to have a wonder and enjoy the NGNG experience.
In addition to the everyday running of NGNG, Hayley & Nathan are currently gearing up for the summer edition of the Fore St Flea, taking place on July 22. The event will see 120 artists showcasing their incredible work, along with live music, a farmer’s market and delicious food stalls. Show your love for our talented local artists and come along to enjoy a fantastic day out #InExeter.