twisted handle bags
July 31, 2019

Fred Aldous: New Paper Carrier Bags, Showcase Artist Collaborations


Arts and crafts supplier Fred Aldous Ltd is a staple of the Northern Quarter in Manchester city centre. Launched all the way back in 1886, originally selling cotton before moving into handicrafts, this unique hub of creativity has grown a lot over the years but still has one clear focus – supplying materials to people who make things.

Inspiring new ideas and encouraging people to try new things and get creating are at the heart of Fred Aldous, and they’ve spent 130 years doing just that. Selling everything from paint supplies, to paper craft, to models and haberdashery, the Fred Aldous store is a haven for professional and amateur artists alike. And, the brand is continuing to grow – as well as their Manchester store, they now have a shop in Leeds too.

The company has always worked to be as sustainable as possible, recycling over 80% of their waste and minimising their impact on the environment as much as they can. We have been working with the fantastic Fred Aldous for years, and up until recently have mostly supplied them with bespoke printed plastic carrier bags.

But in the past few months, the Fred Aldous team have decided that whilst they will always still need to use some plastic carriers because of certain requirements with some of their products, they are going to make the move to mostly paper bags for their stores.

Paul Walker, Joint Managing Director at Fred Aldous, spoke to us about why now was the right time to make this change: “It has always been in the plan but we have certainly seen a shift from customers not wanting a plastic bag. It was time for us to shift the majority of our bags to paper.”

And, being the home of art supplies in Manchester, it’s unsurprising that Fred Aldous have given their paper bags an extra special touch when it comes to design. To help their bags stand out from the crowd, they are going to be collaborating with different artists on the artwork each time they place an order.

First up is Caroline Dowsett, an artist also based in Manchester. Her bold, graphic style and use of bright colours and fluid shapes, often incorporating words and phrases, is the perfect fit to partner with the store. Having worked with them on a range of printed tote bags and the stunning ‘Make Anything’ shop window design, which included 16 hand painted canvases, Caroline’s work can also be found in bold black ink on the new Fred Aldous twisted handle paper bags.



(Images from Caroline Dowsett’s website)


So, why Caroline? “We have always admired Caroline’s artwork”, says Paul. “We stock her greetings cards and she has worked for us for a number of years now. We have worked on lots of projects together.”

Paul tells us that their new bags have been really well received by the Fred Aldous customers, both in terms of the more eco-friendly choice to use paper bags, and the innovative artist partnership in the store that accompanies them: “Using this opportunity to have another showcase for artists  reinforces what we are trying to achieve as a creative business.”

And, there’s more exciting artists lined up for future runs of paper bags too; freelance illustrator and animator Jaydon Rowbottom, and Atelier Bebop, home of gorgeously bright and colourful illustrations and murals.

We at The Printed Bag Shop are over the moon to be Fred Aldous’s chosen bag supplier, and so happy to see more and more companies moving to paper carrier bags over plastic. What makes us even happier is getting such positive feedback from them, too: “We are very happy with the speed and efficiency of all our printed bag orders”, says Paul.

“It’s the personal service which sets you apart; I feel like I can pick up the phone and discuss my order any time.”

Want to experience that speedy, efficient and personal service for yourself? Thinking of joining Fred Aldous in making the move from plastic to paper bags? We can help with that, or any other printed bags or packaging you need.

To talk to our team and get a quote, email us at We can’t wait to hear from you!