The rain held off momentarily for my visit to Labour and Wait. I wandered passed the wisteria-covered buildings of Marylebone before turning the corner onto Dorset Street to see the minimal store-front that is Labour and Wait. Although their flagship store is in Shoreditch, I decided to visit their newest store, which opened in Marylebone in June 2021.
Having launched Labour and Wait in 2000, Simon and Rachel sought to create a shop that stocked functional products that were timeless in their design. Utilising crafting practices from centuries past from specialist makers worldwide, Labour and Wait have curated a line of products that are made to last. Each and every product in the store is considered, from the Guernsey woollen jumpers to the Riess enamelware, making Labour and Wait a true TOP SHOP.
What made you start Labour and Wait?
We found it very difficult to find simple, functional, well-designed products. We both had an appreciation for things that don’t date, and the shops seemed to be full of here-today, gone-tomorrow products.
When curating your store, what do you look for in products?
Timelessness. This is an elusive quality. We try to find items that will become old friends, that you can enjoy for the long term and in many cases get better with age. This applies equally to our clothing and to the household products we stock.
What are the most unusual items you stock?
A metal 'Tube Wringer’, for squeezing every last drop from toothpaste, oil paint tubes and tomato paste etc. A brush designed for cleaning the dust from in and behind radiators. A rubber brush, which is excellent for removing pet hairs and fluff from the furniture.
What are the best and worst things about running a shop?
One of the best things is talking to customers. It’s great when like-minded people discover the shop and are enthusiastic. We are very lucky to have such a loyal following.
One of the worst things is all the office work! We have so many suppliers, from many different countries. Since Brexit everything has become much more complicated.
What is your favourite thing in the area?
The Marylebone neighbourhood is a very nice area to walk around. It is a happy mixture of commercial and residential. It’s a real village, moments away from Oxford Street! I particularly like Paddington Street Garden, a small park just around the corner. It is a real oasis.