A jump across the pond lands us in London for this month’s installment of Design Store(y). Folklore is a new interior design shop owned by stylist Danielle Reid and her husband, Rob, that stocks a tightly edited selection of homewares, furniture, lighting, art, and lifestyle goods that are handmade, antique, or made from recycled or found materials. All the goods are made in an environmentally mindful way and craftsmanship is key. Time for our tour!
Why did you pick this neighborhood?
We live in Islington so finding the Upper Street location was perfect for us. In saying that we looked all over North and East London! But when our shop came up for rent we knew we had to go for it—Islington is easily accessible and most Londoners know Upper Street. There’s also a number of other design stores nearby, helping to bring destination footfall to the area.
Where did you get the name for the store?
The name came from the idea of folklore being stories handed down from generation to generation, helping to form culture and society. We thought it would be nice if some of the pieces we sold were handed down too.
What’s one of the challenges you have with the business?
It can be challenging to find brilliant products that fit well with our ethos. We also have a very edited collection and don’t tend to choose whole ranges from each supplier. We might just take one or two items that we know will work. It means we deal with many more individual suppliers, small makers and designers than perhaps most shops, and that can be challenging.
What other stores have you worked in before opening this one?
Actually neither of us have a background in retail. I’ve been a stylist and designer for a long time and over the years had played with the idea of opening my own store. Rob’s background is digital media. It’s been a steep learning curve since we opened, but we’re lucky as we have a fantastic team that work alongside us in the shop to help make sure everything is running smoothly!
What’s your favorite item in the store right now?
That’s a difficult question as there are many! I love our Nicolle range of metal chairs and stools. They were designed by Frenchman Jerome Lepert in 1933 for use in factories and workshops. The design hasn’t changed since. Made entirely from metal parts, they are incredibly durable, but also beautiful, and versatile. Plus, they come in any RAL color. You can still find the odd vintage Nicolle Chair in France, but they’re much more rare in the UK. To me they are a relatively undiscovered design classic and definitely an investment into a piece that will last forever.
Are you carrying any new products and/or undiscovered gems you’re particularly excited about?
We have a new pendant lamp in called Egg Of Columbus. It’s fun and made from 100 percent recycled paper waste so it displays an innovative use of materials too. I’m also very excited about a new range of furniture we have on the way by Slowwood. They are based in the Netherlands and focus on timeless pieces that have a raw natural elegance. Everything is hand made in their workshop using 100 percent natural finishes and mineral paint. We’ll have the Grut 4 table on display in our shop starting in mid-May.
What’s been a consistent best seller?
Our Pulp Lamps have been consistently popular since we opened. They are made from papier mache and look fantastic when lit, as the light comes through tiny holes in the paper creating an almost magical effect. People also love our range of brushes from Iris Hantverk and table and kitchen linen ware from Tokyo-based Fog Linen.
Does the store have its own line?
We have produced some initial pieces, for example the Highshore Cabinet was designed in collaboration with London design studio Hendzel+Hunt and the Verona Table was a collaboration with Copenhagen-based studio Søren Rose. It’s something we’re looking at doing more of and we hope to launch a more substantial collection this year so keep an eye out!
Do you have anything from the store in your own home?
Yes, it’s difficult not to! We have lots of things, but one of my favourite items we have is our Cardboard Animal Trophies. People always comment on them when they come into the house.
Visit Folklore at 193 Upper Street Islington London N1 1RQ.