Worthing is full of independent businesses that make for the best places to shop for creative unique gifts for Christmas. We took a look at some of our neighbours here on Warwick st, our new neighbours ‘First and Last’ and ‘Inspired’ on Worthing seafront to have a look at what they have to offer this year.
First & Last

First & Last is a new art, design and lifestyle shop in central Worthing, run by April.

“I hope people will find the perfect gift, or treat for themselves, or find their new staple. Everything in the shop Is chosen because it is unique in some way. I have a relationship with all the makers, whether it is because we have worked together before, or we are connected through the creative community.”

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What inspired you to start your own business?

First & Last was an idea that was bubbling away for quite a long time.  I have worked in high street retail, independent galleries, as a buyer for museum shops, all of which has given me the opportunity to meet and work with amazing makers, artists, designers and brands. When I left the commute to London in 2019, I wrote a list of the people I would like to work with if the opportunity arose, and the makers on that list has only been added to. 

It has been a very special experience to be able to bring together a curated collection of the people you have admired and just think they are brilliant. I moved to Worthing a couple of years ago with the desire to live and work in the same town, being part of a local community. Worthing has been very welcoming and seems to like what is on offer in the shop.

What fun things do you have going on this month?

First & Last has been open since the beginning of October, and people are still discovering the shop. It will be nice to meet more of my neighbours. Some have mentioned what they are planning to buy as gifts, or what they would like their friends and family to buy for them. I love when someone finds the perfect gift! Christmas is my favourite time of year even though it’s a time of work for me. It’s such an important time for independent businesses. I’m looking forward to an exciting Christmas window display and all the new stock coming in, and our late night shopping evening on 13th December, along with other businesses in the area.

Finally, what are your plans for 2023?

This is just the beginning and I’m learning what works for First & Last. I like the clarity of running a traditional shop. I hope that First & Last becomes the place where you go to find a gift that is hard to buy for the person in your life.  There are new makers already lined up who will be joining in 2023 and I’ll be doing artist’s showcases and collaborations with First & Last as the year progresses. Keep an eye out for updates.

Heavy Gretel

Hanna runs Heavy Gretel, a lovely gallery and shop in Worthing that sells art, design and craft items made by lots of independent artists and makers.

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Interior of Heavy Gretel
Tell us a bit about you and what inspired you to start your business

I’m Hanna! I’ve lived in Worthing for six years and started Heavy Gretel just over three years ago. The shop is stocked with art, design and craft by independent makers and creators. The focus is on handmade goods, products that have a story and that are kind to the environment. I’m half Austrian, so I enjoy seeking out folk-inspired decorative arts and crafts in particular.

My degree at the University of Brighton was in 3D Design & Craft, and one of the things I’d always planned to do was to set up a studio and shop so that I could make and sell my jewellery and the work of other creatives. After I graduated I was a lecturer for quite a few years and the shop plans were put on hold, so when the opportunity came to have a premise on Warwick Street, the plans were refreshed and set in motion! At the time I was thinking about starting the business, I wanted to make something that was a bit different to the other shops in Worthing. I’m so happy to add my cosy shop to the vibrant independent business community in the town.

What fun things do you have going on this month? 

My new jewellery collection will be launching very soon, so that will be coming to the shop imminently. I’m taking part in the Independent Worthing Christmas Market on Sunday 11th December. Soon I will also be announcing a new series of workshops, which are due to start in the new year.

What is your favourite festive product you stock?

Oh, that’s a tough question – there are so many to choose from! I’m going to be cheeky and choose two.

The first is the fungi tray by Also The Bison. I love Maddie’s illustrations and mushrooms, so this tray is the perfect combination winter cosiness. 

The second is the screen printed Angel Decoration by Karoline Rerrie. Karoline meticulously screen prints them in her studio. I love the folk-inspired design and fact you can see that it has been made by a human!


Inspired is based on Worthing seafront. A wonderful shop that is full to the brim with work made by more than 40 local makers and creatives.

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What inspired you to start your own business?

We are Gemma and Sophie…and are best friends who met at Nottingham Trent Uni in the early 90s. After graduating from a photography degree, Sophie worked at OK! Magazine on the picture desk, sourcing pictures and setting up celebrity photo shoots!! After 13 years she left London and moved to Worthing and set up her screen printing business We Are Mountain.

Gemma did the usual fine art graduate thing, yes working in retail! She worked  at a high-end furniture company, from store manager to visual merchandising manager then onto head of retail and customer. Twenty years on she quit her job…and we had a lightbulb moment… let’s open a shop selling lots of local artists and makers work- INSPIRED and Gemma’s brand GRD Designs were born! 

As the store has developed, we have included indie makers from around the UK.

What is your favourite festive product you stock?

We have some beautiful vintage style angel tree toppers and colourful wreaths by What’s Up Birdie and glass smiley face Christmas tree decorations from Glasshouse Studio – both lovely local makers!! And some delicious chocolate!

What do you have coming up, and what are your plans for 2023?

Join us for our late night opening on Friday 16th December when we’ll be open until 7pm, with added mince pies!

Our mission will be to continue bringing colourful happy products to the people of Worthing!! We also have a few plans hatching – but they are top secret!

Room with a View

Room with  a View is a fine art gallery on Warwick st, Worthing that is run by Jane. From originals, to limited editions and sculptures from leading contemporary artists, there’s something for everyone!

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 Tell us a bit about you and your business

Hi, I am Jane! I have had lots of different businesses on this premise, the actual gallery itself started in 2013 and we are just coming up for our 10th anniversary.

As a long standing member of the Worthing business community and a passionate collector of art, I have established a gallery that reflects that passion. Room With A View represents what I would look for in a great art gallery – a wide selection of the best pieces that inspire and excite you in a setting that is un-pressured and relaxed.

What plans do you have for this year?

We constantly have new ranges of art coming in. We have an eclectic collection to suit all tastes and all budgets, ranging from classic Jack Vettriano signed Limited Editions to striking new original abstracts from Andy Crofts. For Christmas we have gifts including scarves, vases and umbrellas each featuring a famous artist.

Why is it important to shop from independent businesses? 

The thing about an independent is that the owners give a bit of themselves in the process. It’s a very personal relationship. If you don’t have independent retailers, eventually you will have no high street left. Because if you don’t use us, you will lose us. It’s as simple as that!

Do you have any plans for 2023? 

Lots of exciting things are happening, but I’m not going to say just yet. With a bit of luck there will be some really exciting shows coming up, but you’re going to have to watch this space!

Take a trip around Worthing this year to see what all of the local independent shops have to offer and see if you can find your perfect Christmas gift.