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The Utility Story

Utility is an independent design retailer with stores across the North West. We believe that design is for everyone.

At Utility we have a passion for finding the new, unique, quirky cool and very best in design for gifting and pure self indulgence. We pride ourselves on being different, offering our customers an original shopping experience and being the go-to place for designs people will love. We want to be your first stop every time you need a fun, quirky gift or humorous greetings card.

We also have a designer furniture, lighting and homewares side to the business, so if that’s your cup of tea, head over to Utility Design

Proudly Independent and UK Based and Owned

In the age of eCommerce, when multi national high street companies are struggling, we’re extremely proud to be independent and thriving. With no big shareholders to answer to, we can make decisions that work best for our amazing team (we prefer to think of them as family) and you, our loyal customers. We really hope this shows in the exceptional service we always strive to achieve. Thank you for supporting us and keeping it local!

Our Journey

Believe it or not, the Utility story begins with a coffee shop. In 1999, before the big national chains were present in the city,  the Utility founders Richard, Dick & Kate were busy brewing coffee and making sandwiches for the people of Liverpool’s Bold Street in their coffee shop, Coffee Union. A chance discussion with their landlord led to him offering the trio another store, just two doors down from the coffee shop. This store was to become the first Utility.

Richard, Kate and Dick threw caution to the wind, decorated the shop themselves, had some shop fittings made, bags printed and max’d out their credit cards to stock the new store. Utility opened on 4th November 1999 with an experimental range of products from both independent designers and larger brands. With Christmas on the horizon, the gamble paid off.

Since then, we’ve opened our flagship Liverpool gift shop in the North West’s premier shopping destination Liverpool ONE and more recently our first Manchester based gift shop. What’s really exciting about our latest store opening (Manchester Oxford Road) is that it showcases our new store design concept and format, something we’ve been working really hard to perfect over the last 20 years.

As we mentioned earlier, we’ve also got a designer furniture, lighting and homeware concept online which will be backed up by our new showroom and digital home in Liverpool's Batlic Trinagle, which opens in 2022. You can find out more about each of our locations here.

As a Liverpool company we are extremely proud of our heritage. Having survived the credit crunch and switch from high street to online shopping we remain committed to further shop openings, continued investment in our websites and team members and sourcing the latest and coolest products for our design savvy customers.

Our growth strategy has been cautious and it’s paid off. We’ve ensured that we take our time to perfect our offering and service at each location before opening new stores. As a result, we’re confident that every customer who walks through the door of a Utility store, leaves having had a great experience. We’re constantly learning, improving and growing so who knows...maybe a Utility store will pop up on your local high street one of these days.

Design For Everyone

We firmly believe that design should be for everyone and we seek to deliver that through our gift, greeting card, furniture, lighting and homeware collections. Without any pretence of course. Our customer demographic is broad, spanning all age groups and people at every stage of their design journey. Whether you’re looking for a Vitra Toolbox to organise your desk for studies or a designer lounge chair to enjoy retirement on, we’re here to help.

Meet The Team

Our online team is small, friendly, hands-on, driven and always willing to bend over backwards for our customers. We take great pride in providing a customer service experience that is second to none.

You can find out more about the team here.

Stay Connected

We love our customers (after all, we’d not be here 20+ years down the line without you) and we love connecting with them on social media, and seeing our product in your homes. Make sure to give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or Instagram and tag us in your photos. We might even share them ourselves.


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