NORTH IS NOW was founded in 2023 by Yvonne Aboagye-Hobson, founder of TYRO (studios) and Kate Baxter, founder of Fabric of the North. The aim is that North is Now will ultimately become a new community space for contemporary Northern brands to connect and gain access to small business support, advice and mentorship. 

For the inaugural North is Now event, we wanted to provide small independent businesses the opportunity to showcase their goods in a unique retail setting, bringing a curated edit of mindful, aesthetic and sustainable items from handpicked businesses from across the North to a brand new audience, offering a platform to reach new customers and forge valuable relationships with fellow local brands and business.⁠

After the success of the first pop-up in May 2023, the second pop-up shop event ran 4-11 November 2023. We have plans for more brand-focussed education, support and networking opportunities, which will be announced in due course. Be sure to sign up to our mailing list (at bottom of page) to be the first to hear.

Yvonne Aboagye-Hobson

I moved to England in 2017, at the time I had only been here once before, on our honeymoon in 2015. My first instinct was that if we were going to England, we would go to London. Lucky for me, my husband had insisted we start from a more northern part of England (hello Hull!) hire a car and make our way down, through Leeds, Barnsley, Sheffield, over to Blackpool, across to Wales, and finally finish in London.

As an Australian who had never been to England, when I thought of England, my first thoughts were of London. I thought of the Royal Family, red double-decker buses, Sketch’s pink rooms and afternoon tea, red phone boxes, tube stations, Chelsea and Big Ben.

However, since living here, I have been blessed with the joy of experiencing the North and all it has to offer. The kindness and friendliness of the people, the beauty of the landscape and the incredible talent everywhere you look. When fellow Aussies ask me about coming to England, I am the biggest advocate for, “come and live up North, you can always pop down South for the weekend!”

There is so much going on up North, so many incredibly talented designers, artists, makers and entrepreneurs and as TYRO (studios) we love to champion them by making space for them in our studio. The North is Now pop-up is a dream collaboration for us, as we showcase the talent that is here in the North.

I hope our small contribution plays a part in inspiring and motivating the world to take a look at what’s happening in the North, further fuelling the work already in progress.

Kate Baxter

When I relocated from London to Manchester in early 2017, I was struck by just how much creative talent – and beautiful spaces – there were in the North, that I had previously been blind to. Growing up in London I had become accustomed to the relentless pace of consumerism on a global scale and bought into the misplaced belief that the capital was the beating heart of the country – and the only place to be.

As my personal lifestyle blog, Fabric of my Life, evolved during my time spent in the North, a new editorial website became a natural progression. In 2020 I launched Fabric of the North, designed to celebrate and champion mindful, aesthetic and sustainable businesses in the North and share their incredible stories. The North is Now pop-up, hosted by TYRO (studios) is the next wonderful step in its evolution.

Now, more than ever, I believe it is crucial to be looking close to home for brands and products that champion ethical and sustainable ways of living, while keeping local community at the heart of their endeavours. While it’s easy to believe that brands like this exist only in the South – where access to small business support schemes, an affluent customer base and a ready made PR machine seem readily accessible – I’m here to tell you that’s simply not the case.

There is an abundance of contemporary design and exquisite craftsmanship right here in the North, and I’ve curated a wonderful selection across multiple disciplines in the inaugural North is Now pop-up to prove it.