The new multi-purpose event space opens its doors this week, and with a backlog of Covid-delayed weddings across the city, the venue is already taking bookings for this summer.
The Haberdashery, named after a ladies’ tailors which operated in the building for more than 50 years from 1923, is the first venture by best friends Afton Ferguson, an event planner, and Nikki Fairfull, who has left a career in the property sector to launch the business.
Nikki said: “When people see it, I think the venue will sell itself. I fell in love the moment I walked in – there was so much natural light and it was much more grand than I expected, with its traditional cornicing, marble pillars and exposed brick. It just felt so romantic.
“Now, the space is what I always thought it could be. It’s a dream come true. I know how many people are struggling to book wedding venues right now so we hope we can provide the perfect blank canvas to those people straight away.
“Within a few years, we believe this will be one of the most popular wedding venues in Glasgow.”
Afton spent months at the nearby Mitchell Library tracing the building’s history back to 1903. She explained how the business partners have painstakingly restored the 188-capacity venue, which has traded as everything from a grocer to a stationery business to a lighting showroom, to its original splendour.
The 22-year-old University of Strathclyde graduate said: “It’s a hidden gem. It’s so sad it has been abandoned for so long. It’s taken longer than we thought to bring the space back up to its former glory, but it has been worth the wait, and the effort. We spent a week brushing the stonework alone – there was so much dust.
“We want to respect the space and maintain its charm, while giving an old building a fresh perspective.
“Previously the building was an eyesore for the local community. As soon as we removed the graffitied boards and fixed the broken windows, we received so much positive feedback. We’re proud to be adding value to the local area.”
In January, it was revealed by Glasgow City Council that 37 stores were lying empty on Sauchiehall Street due to “major changes in retailing”.
Nikki hopes the revitalised venue, which has been empty since a Christopher Wray lighting showroom closed down in 2016, can help spark a new era for Sauchiehall Street alongside forward-thinking projects such as the McLellan works.
The 25-year-old businesswoman has lived in Seville, Madrid and Barcelona, but has always been drawn back to Glasgow.
She said: “I take so much inspiration from all the cities I’ve lived in. Barcelona in particular has so many spaces for art exhibitions and creative spaces. Glasgow deserves more of them. So much has been said about the decline of the city centre, but we just have to think about the city centre and its surrounding areas differently. Glasgow will always be a great shopping city, but we want to be part of a movement of businesses who are attracting people back to the city centre in other ways.
“We can give an old building a new young perspective – it’s time for Glasgow to let the next generation bring their ideas to the table and bring the city back to life, especially after the last two years. The Haberdashery can be an anchor venue that helps to re-invigorate Sauchiehall Street.”
Afton believes the pair have created “a fully flexible space that will allow creative people to be creative”.
She added: “There are so many innovative people in Glasgow with so many ideas. Our mission is to provide a space for them to make their vision come true, whether that is their wedding, their art or their brand. As working from home increasingly becomes the norm, we are also inviting businesses to use the space for company off-sites. “
After nine-months of red tape and hard graft, the 6604-square foot building on 545 Sauchiehall Street, which has a full commercial kitchen, will finally open next week and is now available for bookings.
To find out more visit thehaberdasheryglasgow.com.