Newest Review: ... for many years and upon entering one of the stores you would be greeted with a mass of colour and beauty. Cushions were exquisite some plai... more
Full of Eastern promise!
Member Name: FairyG
Advantages: Ethically sourced furniture and handcrafted items.
Disadvantages: Delivery is expensive and can take a long time.
The Pier first opened in 1989 with their first store in Richmond-upon-Thames. They displayed their stock with straw and upturned packing crates to give the idea of a pier, with goods recently offloaded from a boat. They no longer do that, but their stores are designed to feel like a marketplace full of gorgeous and exotic finds. There are now 48 stores in the UK and an online store. They work directly with suppliers all over the world and have a buying policy which means that no prison labour or child labour is used and fair wages are paid for the locality.
The Pier recycles, keeps packaging to a minimum, and limits the use of hardwood in furniture. Where it does need to be used, they make sure it only comes from effectively managed sources. They also raise money for UNICEF through the sale of Christmas cards and other fund raising activities.
I first discovered the Pier when they opened a branch at Meadowhall in Sheffield a few months ago. I have to say it is now my favourite shop! Imagine you have travelled all over the world and brought back something from each country. That's what the Pier is like. You can buy iron peacocks, pewter perfume bottles, hand painted vases and jewelled elephant lanterns from China, or patchwork cushions, embroidered table runners and beaded jewel boxes from India. They have exquisite glasses, china, table linen and bed linen, scented candles and candle holders, dried flowers. In summer they sell garden lights, and in winter, Christmas lights and tree ornaments. Their stock is changing all the time. They also have a range of furniture on display such as papasan chairs, oak bookcases, dining furniture, but you need to order these.
Up to now these are the things I've bought:
A gorgeous blue handmade wall tapestry from India which is hanging above my bed.
A Chinese sushi set which I gave my daughter as a gift.
A satin jewel box from India with a beaded peacock on the lid.
A cane floor lamp from China.
Two Tirano oak bookshelves from China. Beautiful warm solid oak.
A Veneto solid oak tv/dvd stand from China.
Stackable black metal cd racks from China.
A satin embroidered table runner.
Twisted stem wine glasses from China.
A pearlescent stoneware dinner set.
I ordered the oak furniture online and had to wait a month for the bookcases to come into stock as they were a new range. The book cases and tv stand are self assembly, but are really easy to put together. I had to do it myself as my husband wasn't well at the time, and it was a lot easier than putting together Ikea stuff! The quality is great and the furniture is sturdy well-crafted. The bookshelves come with wall straps to stop them toppling, which is wise when there are young children around.
Delivery is not cheap though! It's £40 for large furniture items, £25 for smaller furniture that can be carried by one person, £15 for large non-furniture items such as mirrors, and £5 for small non-furniture items. If possible you are better off ordering it to be delivered to the shop, which is free, and then collecting it yourself.
If you can't get to a shop it's well worth a look online at www.pier.co.uk.
I recommend it as a place to look if you want something that little bit different, or you want to buy an unusual gift for someone. If you set your heart on some of the more expensive items, it's worth waiting for their offers. They have offers on different ranges all year round, and fantastic reductions in the sales.
Summary: A shop where you will find something beautiful and unusual.