Unit 7, Greenwich Market

Out a-haunting yesterday, I found myself in Greenwich Market, passed what, I believe, used to be Pink Lizard and found myself thinking of AndreKabu.

Why? Because although AK’s dream of a lovely stationery shop in Greenwich may not be fully (or even, frankly, partially) realised, Bizili is at least making an effort – and is literally starting with a blank canvas.

It’s an extremely odd Chinese art materials multinational that has set up shop in one of the market place units. It’s only been open two weeks and the stock looks a bit bare so far but they assured me that they’re expanding. One look at the website (well, two looks, actually – the site’s in Chinese – you have to find the English page) will tell you how many thousands of dollars-worth of oil paints they have sold in Denmark, which has convinced them that Britain is ready for the wax-crayon invasion….

I’m guessing that what we actually have in Greenwich Market is a franchise rather than a branch, which will explain the small amount of stock so far, but I’m curious.

Pencils, pens, brushes, acrylics, oils, fabric paints – that kind of thing. There are also pre-stretched canvases at alarmingly cheap prices – the largest was just £ 6.50 (I remember the blue fug that surrounded me trying to stretch my own canvases many moons ago) and easels. Funky gift sets, school supplies and little wooden artists’ mannequins – they’re all here already. In some kind of strange non sequitur, there was a cheap child’s guitar on show too.

The prices are low – due, presumably, to the Chinese provenance. The colours are bright and the packaging engaging. The one thing I can’t vouch for is any kind of quality, though presumably they’ve had to pass at least health & safety rules and your toddler won’t die if she sucks a Nature Colored Pencil…

With Andrekabu’s dream in mind I asked about paper – the one thing that they seemed not to stock at all. The very sweet Chinese staff assured me that a lovely variety of paper will be arriving soon.

The company’s slogan is No Best, but even better (sic.) We’ll see. The Phantom is watching. In the meanwhile, if anyone actually buys anything (the tightfisted Phantom has enough art materials to last until the next millennium) do let me know what the quality’s like.

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