This quirky apothecary-style shop sells everything from handmade lotions and potions to beginner’s guides to witchcraft…
Queens Arcade is home to a new pop-up shop and it’s opened just in time for Christmas. Bubble Witch is a Victorian-style apothecary store that brings homemade lotions and potions together with quirky accessories and homeware. There’s even a witchy twist to proceedings, as you’ll soon find out…
It’s the brainchild of Helena Garcia. She’s no stranger to Leeds’ independent shopping scene, in fact, she’s played an active role in it since 2006. She worked at Rose and Co. and eventually took over the Leeds store, before starting her own venture, Candy Candy, in Leeds Corn Exchange. While she was there, she ran two hugely successful Halloween Balls and even wrote a book called ‘Introduction to Witchery’, a beautifully illustrated book with over 200 pages of ghoulish projects, terrifying recipes, interesting stories and fascinating facts about witches.
You can see how she’s come to her current project, Bubble Witch, a new pop-up shop that brings together all her passions in one incredibly unique shop. “Bubble Witch has the potion making, apothecary section of Candy Candy. It has the old glamour and nostalgia of Rose and Co. and the fun, quirkiness of Candy Candy. And it definitely has my obsession with witches and Celtic festivals. It’s all there in one concept,” Helena told us.
It came about completely by chance. She wasn’t planning to open another shop, but she passed the empty unit and it felt like fate. She saw what others wouldn’t – an empty canvas. But that’s not what you’ll see if you walk in there today, you’ll be amazed at what she’s done. She’s transformed it from a modern unit into a Victorian-style apothecary with dark mahogany shelving, elaborate wallpaper and all manner of weird and wonderful products to catch your eye.
It’s not just for show either, as Helena explained, “We make a lot of our own products, as well as stocking a selected range of oddities. I really want to have unique stuff, like Victorian-style doll heads, spiderweb handbags, handmade hats, jewellery and accessories, and of course lots of handmade bath products, potions and lotions. Rather than going to a trade show and ordering from random companies, I think of something I want to stock and I source it. If it doesn’t exist, I create it.”
Alongside their own homemade products, they stock a range of bottles and tubs to encourage you to make your own concoctions at home, whether it’s handmade soap, body lotion or lip balms.
It really is a treasure trove of unique gift ideas – and it’s going to come in very handy indeed when you start your Christmas shopping, especially because Helena is on-hand to help you choose and she knows all the products like the back of her hand, after all, she’s either handpicked them or handmade them.
With that in mind, we asked her to give us some personal recommendations, and she came through for us, although it wasn’t easy for her, “It’s like picking your favourite child, which of course I would be able to do as parents do have favourites. I love the Witch Bottle, I have been brewing Elderberry Vodka since late August, which I bottle in these, it is pure black, so they make awesome Christmas presents. We have other bottle designs, but the witch is my favourite.”
That’s not the only thing that made the list though. She also gave a shout out to their handmade crystal jewellery, a beautiful, hand-crafted gift that’s surprisingly affordable considering the skill that goes into making it – you can get everything from flying witch and spiderweb brooches to heart-shaped hair clips and drop earrings.
Alongside the products on sale, you’ll be able to view the work of local artists, including prints and hand-carved bird head brooches from Eiyia, a British-Spanish couple who produce exquisite artwork – and there’ll be more where that came from, because Helena is keen to showcase the work of undiscovered artists from Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond.
Bubble Witch, 5 Queens Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LF. Open from 10am to 5:30, Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays for the next 3 months.