Annie Hargreaves started Leela 15 years ago as a fair trade toy and gift importer selling to big brand retailers Paul Smith and Harvey Nichols to name a few. Fast forward to 2011 and the ethical lifestyle shop on Magdalen Road opened, selling gorgeous, sustainable made products including homewares, clothing, and fashion accessories. Many of the items sold in Leela are not available anywhere else in the UK, making Leela the perfect place to get an original gift or something special for your home.
An enchanting store, Leela has many firm favourites with its customer base including Wxy candles, Handed By planters, Jo Edwards scarves, Thought clothing and One in Eight jewellery.
Annie knows what her customers are looking for saying; “Customers like a mix of products and can find both UK fair trade and recycled items right here. I love working with all the suppliers to stock my store and enjoy finding out more about their back stories. One of our most popular products are the ‘Shades of’ prints by Jackson and Young, these vibrant prints showcase different colours from around Devon, including red for Magdalen Road. If you stop and take a moment to look, you’ll see that most of the buildings that line the street are built from red brick.”
Annie continues, “I love the products I sell here and am passionate about how things are made, where they come from and who has made them. It is important to me that I work with fair trade producers as I have seen first-hand how this positively impacts the crafts people making the items as well as empowering them, especially women. I love being able to support women and I love design so naturally merged the two together.”
The name of the store comes from one of Annie’s favourite hotels in India, The Leela Palace and is also the ancient Sanskrit word for play. With gorgeous homewares, cards, books, lighting, planters, clothing and jewellery among other wonderful products, this treasure trove based on Magdalen Road is not to be missed.