Danielle Reid is making ecology and ethics sexy through her chic shop in Islington. Folklore is a business built on design principles (craftsmanship, simplicity, durability and quality in all the items they sell) but it wears them lightly. The shop has a distinctly pared down aesthetic of bare boards and rough edges, but rather than preach it sort of gently nudges you think a bit more deeply about what you buy . . where it came from . . how it was made. The ethos here is: "good design is mindful design" and I'm inclined to agree.
Who are you? My name is Danielle Reid and our shop is called Folklore.
Where can we find you? Our website is www.shopfolklore.com and our bricks and mortar store is located at: 193 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 1RQ.
Describe your store in five words: Simple, clean, calm, modern and natural.
What makes you different? We have a strong ethos and distinct aesthetic that informs all of our buying choices. We focus on the idea that better living is possible through design and stock an edited selection of homewares, furniture, lighting and lifestyle goods.
How you decide what makes the cut? Our focus is on mindful design for home and life – items that are created with care and made to last. We look for craftsmanship, quality, simplicity and durability in all of our products. This means many are handmade, antique or made from recycled or found materials. For products that don't tick these boxes, we choose items made from materials that are at least easily recyclable at the end of their life.
What were you doing before you did this? I’m an interior designer and stylist so previous to Folklore I had been working in this field for about 10 years.
If you were starting again what advice would you give yourself? Don’t try to do everything at once! We opened our store and launched our website at the same time. It was a huge challenge as both are equally huge projects and at times quite stressful. We got there in the end but next time I would be more inclined to do things one at a time.
What are you most proud of? I’m very proud of the lovely old sign we have above our door, it reads ‘Berwick’ and was the name of an old traditional ‘bra and knicker’ shop that was there for almost 50 years. At first lots of people couldn’t find us as it doesn’t say ‘Folklore’ above our door, but now people associate the sign with us as much as anything. It’s very striking and almost a landmark of the area.
Do you have a favourite thing in the store right now? That’s a difficult question, there are many. I love our Nicolle range of metal chairs and stools. Created in 1933 they were designed by Frenchman Jerome Lepert 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 they come in any RAL colour meaning they are very versatile. 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.
What's hot for 2013? We have a new pendant lamp in called Egg Of Columbus. It’s fun and made from 100% recycled paper waste meaning it’s an innovative use of materials too. I’m also very excited about a new range of furniture we have on the way from Slowwood who are based in The Netherlands and focus on timeless pieces that have a raw natural elegance. Everything is hand made in their workshop and they use 100% natural finishes and mineral paint; we’ll have the Grut 4 table on display in our shop from mid-May.
Every Wednesday 'Indie of the week' celebrates the best independent stores around. These places sell interesting and varied collections of design-related things you don't see everywhere else. They may support young or local designers or be great at finding unique things from around the world. By thinking a little more creatively about what they stock they are fighting the bland homogenisation of so much of the high street. And since I'm down with the realities of modern life, online only stores count too, because a beautiful and easy to use website is just as delightful an encounter in cyberspace.
Do you you have a favourite store? I'd love to hear from you.