Perfect for Getting to know the Dock

Inspire Me

Get to know us on the inside

There's more to the Dock than meets the eye and this month we thought it was about time we got to meet the people behind the brands.

We’ve been getting to know our tenants better! Last year was a busy time for the Dock – we’ve welcomed a real variety of exciting new tenants, all bringing their independent ideas to the Dock. So we’ve been catching up with tenants and finding out what makes them unique and interesting.

Mi Apparel © Mi Apparel

Mi Apparel

Mi Apparel is our newest arrival. Just launched, Mi Apparel taps into shoppers’ thirst for sustainable and ethical clothes and homeware. We caught up with owner Kate Auguste to find out more…

  • What's in a name? The ‘mi’ in Mi Apparel comes from Kate’s daughters names, Martha and Ida. ‘They were the ones who first inspired me on the sustainable fashion journey,’ she says, ‘after seeing how many clothes they consume in quick succession – in such a short amount of time.’
  • Mi Apparel is a zero plastic shop. There’s no plastic in its clothes, accessories or beauty – and its carrier bags – unless it’s post-consumed, recycled and recycle again.
  • It’s also part of the ‘Detox on denim’ movement. Denim is a dirty business – all those chemicals used in the production of denim end up in nature via air and waste water and can get into our bodies through our skin. Mi Apparel’s denim is 0% pesticides, 0% heavy metals, 0% chlorine and 100% good for our environment. And 100% kind to your skin.
  • The team practises what it preaches, with ‘repurpose, reuse and recycle’ a central tenet. All of its wooden furniture has been made from 100+year old floor boards from a house in Liverpool, which has been cut, varnished and waxed.
  • Do you know who made your clothes? Everything in Mi Apparel is ethical, sustainable, transparent. Each brand has a clean supply chain – from the conception to completion of every garment. Everyone on the journey has been paid a living wage and treated fairly. If you ‘keep asking who made my clothes?,’ says Kate, ‘together can change the way our fashion industry is today, for the better...’
Norma Liverpool Pictures

Liverpool Pictures 

You’ve probably also seen that we gained our Royal Charter last year, which HRH Charles, Prince of Wales visited us last month to unveil. If you saw some shots of Prince Albert officially opening the Dock in 1846, you’ll find them at the Dock, too – they were supplied by Norma Lyons, who runs the Liverpool Pictures gallery. So, what better opportunity to catch up with Norma, one of the Dock’s earliest tenants? Here’s what she told us…

  • Liverpool people have always been fiercely proud of their heritage. Norma worked in a city centre art gallery and local publisher before starting her own businesses the 'Liverpool History Cart’ – a stall in the Dock’s Britannia Pavilion in 1991.
  • Norma hails from Inverness-shire, growing up in a small community of scattered crofts in the Highlands. There were only 12 children in her whole school.
  • She remembers clearly the Dock opening, with its new Merseyside Maritime Museum and Beatles Story, and people were delighted, she says. ‘Customers were looking more to Liverpool's rich heritage – art at the time reflected this, with work mostly of the river, with shipping and historical content like the old streets and trams.’
  • Norma’s fledging History Cart became the Liverpool History Shop, before she moved to the Colonnades and opened Liverpool Pictures in 2003. She runs it with her daughter-in-law Maria.
  • Liverpool’s art has developed with the city, she says. ‘Helped by the digital age and individually printed images, artists can be much more creative and prolific. The city of Liverpool now reflects both the history and present-day combined. It’s an exciting experience – historic buildings are utilised and the music scene is vibrant. The artists whose work I display reflects this.’

We’ve spoken to shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants so far this year... Last summer saw the arrival of Rough Hand Made bakery, which prides itself on its unique approach to baking, where every delicious pastry is slightly different. They made a film, where Buenos Aires-born baker Carlos tells you a bit more about his sensual approach. Warning: this film is guaranteed to make your mouth water!

We've also spoken to some of the Dock’s makers, including Leather Satchel Co’s Keith Hanshaw and The Nest owner Katherine Caldwell. Leather Satchel Co. is Liverpool born and bred, over 50 years old now, and has its flagship shop at the Dock. Find out more:

Kieth and Gail from The Leather Satchel Co meeting HRH

The Leather Satchel Co.

  • Leather Satchel kits out everyone, from royalty to rock. ‘Not only have we made items for the Royals’, says Keith. ‘We also made a bunch of white leather clogs for Queen back in the ‘80s!’
  • Many people know that we make everything here in Liverpool. Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool is our flagship store – but we also have a presence in the English Village at Epcot World, in Disney, Orlando.
  • While the classic British satchel design dates back over 400 years to Shakespearean times, not many people know that between the mid-1980s and 2009, Leather Satchel was the very LAST traditional satchel maker left in England. In 2009, Harry Potter sprinkled some magic and revitalised the whole industry again – now we have a sprinkling of buddying and aspiring satchel-makers across the country.
  • Leather Satchel has helped to bring back a nationally-recognised qualification in leatherwork, to start training younger people as satchel-maker apprentices. ‘In 2019 we’re also planning on launching a leather workshop at the Dock and giving lessons in leatherwork to anyone who wants to learn,’ says Keith.
  • Gail are Keith are both vegetarians – and they think that creating something beautiful out of a meat industry by-product is not only highly sustainable, but a great service to the cow’s memory.

Keep an eye on the Dock website for more news about Leather Satchel’s exciting workshop events. Or pop down to the shop to swoon over it’s rainbow array of bags, belts, card holders, keyrings and gift ideas.

Just around the corner from Keith is independent art and design shop The Nest. Owner Katherine Caldwell lets us in on a few secrets, and tells us how she champions other local designers and makers.

Katherine at the Nest

The Nest

  • Katherine’s an illustrator, and studied for her Graphic Arts Degree at the Liverpool School of Art and Design – part of Liverpool John Moores University. The School of Art and Design was famously attended by a young John Lennon.
  • The Nest not only sells work by locals designers, but collaborates with them to create exclusive products you’ll only find at The Nest. It also sets special commissions and only works with local artists, designers and makers – a real slice of independent Liverpool.
  • The Nest has strong environmental and ethical values. Katherine is passionate about ethical manufacturing and environmentally-friendly processes. She has a range of organic clothing; The Nest’s Liverpool mugs are made in Liverpool – ensuring the product has a low carbon footprint and supports another local business. And the only time you’ll see bubble wrap is when it’s re-used from other deliveries. All purchases are wrapped in fully recyclable paper, packaging in paper carrier bags.
  • The Nest’s unique welded products created a new career for retired welder Tony Shannon. His pieces include hanging planters, animals and Liver birds – but Tony only began his retail career after a conversation with Katherine. He’s now sold out two ranges, extending production to meet demand.

The Nest has plenty of exciting plans for 2019. If you haven’t popped in for a look yet, don’t leave it too long – you’re missing out!

And, if watching Rough Hand Made’s film made your mouth water, how about getting to know these two while you’re down at the Dock? We got to know these two unique eateries…

Kenneth Cheung

Puffle Waffle

Puffle Waffle opened its doors last summer, bringing the moreish Hong Kong street food to Liverpool for the first time. We caught up with owner Kenneth Cheung to find out a few favourite facts…

  • Puffle Waffle started as a pop-up! It appeared first in the Baltic Triangle’s Camp and Furnace, before popping up at Liverpool Food and Drink Festival and in the city centre. “We got enough positive feedback to give us the courage to take up a physical shop,” says Kenneth.
  • As we know, the recipe is Kenneth’s grandfather’s recipe. His grandad was a restauranteur back in Hong Kong – “what you taste here is original hand-made-from-scratch waffles. No waffle mix in sight,” he says.
  • If you happened to be in Puffle Waffle during Comic Con last year, you might have seen a hungry Power Ranger scoffing a scrumptious waffle…
  • 2018 saw the team pass a big milestone, selling more than 10,000 waffles last year! 
  • The team also loves a themed waffle… Keep an eye out for fun flavours and unique events, like the Unicorn waffle, of PW’s Pokemon Day, with Pokemon waffles. Next up, they promise something special for March – keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss out!
Owners Peter and Elaine Kinsella


Lunyalita joined us last summer, opening its second Liverpool location. This delicious Spanish deli and restaurant is perfect for watching the world go by at the Dock, with an outdoor courtyard, private dining room upstairs and laid back restaurant across its ground floor – with a mouthwatering deli to boot. We caught up with owners Elaine and Peter Kinsella, too…

  • Before they opened Lunya, neither Peter or Elaine had any restaurant experience at all – Elaine was a child psychologist and Peter was a management consultant
  • Since Lunya opened in Liverpool in 2010, they’ve served over 1 million customers and 400,000 portions of patatas bravas across all of their restaurants
  • Lunya was the UK’s very first Catalan-inspired restaurant and deli
  • Lunyalita and Lunya are a secret celebrity haunt (although we’re not sure how much longer this will stay a secret.) Over the years, they’ve welcomed the likes of Kim Cattrall from Sex in the City, David Gest, Luis Suarez, Roberto Martinez, Suggs, Jamie Carragher, Giles Coren, Elvis Costello, Jay Rayner, Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, David Silva, Pep Guardiola and Stephanie Davies.
  • Lunya is still independently owned and run by husband and wife team, Peter and Elaine Kinsella – that makes it a rare family-run high street brand
  • Every year, Peter and Elaine travel to Spain many times to meet the people who grow, make, catch the food they buy for the deli and serve in the restaurant. They’re obsessed about good quality and provenance – you really should give it a try.
Luyalita Deli Board

If you want to get to know Lunyalita better, there’s a cheese tasting evening on 26 March and sherry tasting on 29 April.

Or pop over and exploring some of our other new arrivals, from Roly’s Fudge and Peaberry on the Dock to sculptor Ugo Rondinone’s technicolour Liverpool Mountain.

With more cafés, restaurants, shops and attractions than ever, we’re convinced you’ll find something new to do. There’s more than meets the eye at the Dock. So come on over – come and get to know us on the inside.