Wildlife illustrator and author's 'botanical paradise' Hackney plan

Ben Rothery at the Spitalfields Hidden Planet

Ben Rothery at the Spitalfields Hidden Planet - Credit: Ami Robertson @ Rubie Love Photography

A crowdfunder has been launched in a bid to move a print and plant shop to Hackney. 

Hackney wildlife illustrator and author Ben Rothery has opened Hidden Planet shops in Spitalfields and then Covent Garden, but he said the pressures of Covid and Brexit have meant his Monmouth Street outlet has had to close. 

He is now looking for supporters to help him open in Chatsworth Road, Homerton. 

As well as being a shop, Hidden Planet is a working illustration studio, distribution centre and art gallery. 

It is filled with conservation-led wildlife books, prints, stationery, ceramics and accessories, as well as more than 500 species of ethically-sourced plants.

The new space would be cheaper and larger, allowing the business to close its studio and warehouse, and consolidate in one location, lowering operating costs further. 

Ben said: "In order to secure the new location and move, we require funds that we currently do not have. We’ll also need to close both of our central London stores to avoid paying two rents and to allow us to focus on getting the new site ready which will mean six to eight weeks of no income.

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"Our plan is to use the funds raised to secure the deposit, contribute for the year's rent up front and complete the building work at the new site as fast as possible so that we can get back to trading. To install new doors, windows, lighting, flooring and signage and to dress the space. We’ll also put in place a new stock management system and overhaul the website."

For each pledge, supporters will receive items from the Hidden Planet collection, such as books, prints & stationery at a reduced price, including shipping and a donation to a conservation charity. 

Ben added: "When completed, Hidden Planet Chatsworth Road will be a light and airy botanical paradise - a place for nature-lovers, gift seekers and curious minds.

"If successful, we have exciting plans  to expand in other areas including in store coffee sourced from local roasters, hosting educational talks and workshops for local schools, providing employment for local people and supporting conservation projects both locally and further afield.

"Hackney is my home so the opportunity to create something beautiful here from the ground up is something I’m really excited about."

Support Hidden Planet at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/hidden-planet