IOTA was founded in 1998 in a tiny unit at the back of Bristol’s renowned St Nicholas Market. Right from the start our mission was simple: to sell lovely things at affordable prices. And we quickly became a regular port of call for lots of Bristolians, knowing that IOTA was the perfect place to find that elusive present (for someone else or for themselves).
When we moved to Gloucester Road we helped to make it the independent retail destination that it is today. And we had more space to sell nice things, whilst sticking to our tried and tested formula: we only stock things that owner Meibh O’Connor would give house room to, and only sell things at sensible prices.
That means that IOTA is not a shop that sells one particular thing. We sell stuff Meibh likes, whether it’s eco-friendly homewares, jewellery from local makers, divine dressing gowns or prints from Britain’s most stylish designers. We also have Bristol’s best range of greetings cards, and a variety of books (you can just display them on your coffee table if you like, but they’re actually also really interesting).
Because our range is constantly changing, we have a lot of regular customers who pop in regularly to see what’s changed and what’s new. Since the rise of social media, those from further away can keep up with what’s happening on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. And with our new webshop [make clickable to webshop page], customers can now also buy some of our more popular lines from the comfort of their own sofa.
20 years on, IOTA remains what we always envisioned it to be when we started: the sort of shop we’d like to shop in, and the sort of shop where you know there’s a present waiting to happen. Come and see us soon!
Are you still open during the coronavirus crisis?
Our physical shop is closed in line with government regulations. However, people still need nice stuff, and birthdays are still happening. We don't see why Amazon should be the only place able to provide those things, so we have set up a mail order facility to serve our customers in Bristol and beyond. Take a look at our shiny new webshop.
There's something I saw in the shop that isn't listed online
We haven't be able to list all the products that we have in the shop on the website. If there's something particular you had in mind, please contact us and we will see whether we have it available.
Shouldn't shops only be selling essentials?
The purpose of the current government regulations is to stop people from congregating in places like shops. For that reason, only essential bricks and mortar shops remain open.
However, there is nothing to prevent the public from buying non-essential items online (and why would there, since the virus is spread by personal contact, not by frivolity). If you need confirmation of that, take a look at the websites of companies like Amazon and Wayfair: they will still happily sell you highly non-essential items like a saxophone mute or a lamp shaped like a sausage dog. We hope and believe that IOTA's loyal customers will prefer to support their local business.
Is it safe to get deliveries from IOTA?
All orders will be packaged and shipped in full compliance with social distancing and health protection. Payment will be taken through the website, and orders will be shipped by Royal Mail. Local deliveries will be to the doorstep - you will not have to interact with our local delivery staff (which is a bit of a shame, because they're just as lovely as our shop staff).
If you have any other questions, please contact us.