Ed, Henry and Harry grew up together in South London. Together, they run two bars on the fifth floor of Peckham Levels, Lady Godiva has 18 taps of 12 different beers and ciders and the Crow's Nest champions local beers all brewed within a mile and good quality, independent wine with a nod to organic and biodynamic.
How was the Lady Godiva created?
Lady Godiva bars was very much born out of Makeshift. 3 ½ years ago we built a tiny takeaway pizza in a shipping container in Pop Brixton and called it Made of Dough. That went really well so when Peckham Levels came about, we were interested, but it wasn't quite right for Made of Dough because you can't have wood fired ovens in here. So, we thought we'd have a crack at running the bars and core to Makeshift's business principles has always been a social give back within your business. We saw a great opportunity here for a collaboration with the Clink Restaurant, a prison charity.
What is the Clink?
It's a restaurant in a prison and in the last three months of your sentence, if it's a non-violent sentence, you can go to the Clink and learn about hospitality. You work in the kitchen, the floor, with customers and when you finish your sentence, you're employable. Within three years we’d like 75% of our staff to be via the Clink, that’s our target.
What's your favourite part of your days?
My days are wildly different every day. I have a dog, a lurcher called Rocco and I run with him every morning, that’s my favourite part of the day and it keeps me focused. But the most enjoyable part of my job is people. I came from an advertising background, I worked for four years in a corporate office and I couldn't get to grips with how people behaved differently in an office compared to outside of that environment. In this environment, there's a realness to it and I love that.
How is Peckham Levels?
It's great to be in this building because it has its pitfalls and problems, but it also has so many great things and those great things really are the people and businesses, it’s fun to be a part of that. Anything Makeshift do is big and bold and quick so there's always going to be mistakes but I think the benefits outweigh those mistakes. In South London and Peckham there seems to be a particular fondness and support for independent business. That's cool because when you open up, you open up in the confidence that people will be interested, because you're an independent, because you're doing your thing.
Do you have any tips for someone starting their own business?
Yeah, me and Henry started a business with neither of us from a hospitality background and some days I wish we were because we have made every single mistake you can make. And you know, that's cost us money. But in a way that's a good thing because I've learnt so much in four years. So, don't be afraid to make mistakes because if you make a mistake, you'll learn from it. And if you don't make a mistake, you’ve had success.
What are your plans for the future?
Our plan for the future really is to continue doing what we're doing. The part that is most interesting for us is this partnership with the Clink, we want to grow and extend that. We're trying to take it to the next step by offering a scholarship. If you’ve come to us via the Clink and you've worked here for more than six months, you’re eligible for a grant of up to £2,500 to use in an entrepreneurial way, Mo has recently won it. Within this building, all the businesses are small, independent and a real entrepreneurial spirit seems to rub off on other people. We wanted to extend that to our employees.
Lady Godiva Drink Recipe
Summer Staibano & Ginger
30ml Staibano Limoncello
Fresh Mint leaves
1. Pour in 30ml of Staibano Limoncello over ice cubes (Limoncello is best stored in the fridge)
2. Chop a few slices of cucumber and add to the glass
3. Slap a sprig of fresh mint to release the flavour
4. Add mint leaves and muddle slightly
5. Top up with ginger ale and enjoy on a warm summer evening.
Credit -Ash Chalk(photography and interview)