Into the Spotlight, kindly sponsored by Scriba PR, is a regular feature where we highlight some great small businesses. Here we profile The Object Edit, a quirky vintage furniture business in the Byram Arcade in Huddersfield town centre.
The Object Edit is a small island of style hidden away on the second floor of Byram Arcade, specialising in mid-century modern furniture and decor.
Partners Emiel Wortmann and Karen Francis have always been magpies, finding quaint and quirky items difficult to resist.
“We’re drawn towards the vibrant colours and clean lines of 1950s and 60s design,” said Karen. “Whether it’s sofas, telephone seats or sideboards, the quality of materials and the functionality of design just trump what’s available today. We started off collecting items for our own house but we quickly outgrew that.”
Having moved to Huddersfield during lockdown and frustrated with the work-from-home lifestyle, the couple came across an empty unit as they wandered through Byram Arcade one Sunday in late 2022.
Karen added: “The quiet corner of the second floor seemed a good fit. The vintage art and pottery store, tea merchant’s and art shop that surrounded it worked well with our vision of a shop selling furniture, glass, posters and books.
“It seemed a really friendly and tight-knit community of small shops – just what we were looking for. We moved into the unit in early 2023, and have been slowly expanding online and through word of mouth.”
The Object Edit space doubles as a shop, office, studio and workshop where the furniture is there to be sat on – and sold.
Karen is an editor, so you’ll mostly find her on the cosy shop sofa, tapping away on her laptop. Emiel is the Chief Furniture Restorer so he’ll be fixing up the latest find or busy creating something new.
He’s also a qualified Tai Chi instructor, and runs evening Qi Gong classes in the arcade https://taichinews.com/branch/huddersfield
Karen added: “Our stock is constantly changing and although we often sell iconic pieces – think Ercol, G Plan and vintage modernist chairs straight out of a James Bond movie – it’s not all high-end designer items.
“You could walk in to find the exact same formica table that your nan had in her kitchen, or a simply made functional wooden chair that will still serve its purpose a hundred years from now, and be just as pleasing.
“We really want to keep things in use when they have life left in them, a history and a story, or simply an illustration of great design values.”
Much of the couple’s stock is sold online to places like London or Brighton and, as secondhand sellers, they are keen to push an eco-friendly agenda too.
Emiel said: “Shopping vintage is a way to counter fast furniture and the negative impact of large-scale manufacture and poor-quality products with short life cycles.
“If you buy vintage, you’re getting unusual items, often at more reasonable prices, and you’re doing your bit for the planet – win-win!
“It’s something even the big brands are starting to value – Urban Outfitters, Habitat, even Harrods have recently set up vintage showrooms and pop-ups.
“As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Seeing iconic furniture and vintage items discarded and sent to landfill has always been a wrench. Walking past a skip and seeing a sadly discarded chair, side table or chest of drawers has always been hard and often it’s impossible to stop yourself from ‘rescuing’ something!
“We’ve picked up items before that we’re told were destined for a skip or a bonfire. It’s amazing how something being thrown away can shine when you show it some love and attention.”
Emiel and Karen are hoping to utilise the space directly outside the shop as an exhibition and art gallery.
An exhibition of work by the late Denby Dale-born artist Maggie Sowerby runs until December 20. More than 60 original paintings are for sale.
The Object Edit is on the second floor of Byram Arcade and is open 10am-4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Follow The Object Edit on Instagram @the_object_edit