Nook in London N16 is a delightful shop which opened up in April 2012 in the heart of idyllic Stoke Newington Church Street and close to the buzz of vibrant Dalston. They sell a nice mix of home accessories and unique gifts including tableware, glassware, enamelware, kitchen accessories, stationery, contemporary greeting cards and more. It’s equally owned by brother and sister Jack and Kate Simpson along with Gemma Ridgway, who is Jack’s partner. The idea of opening up a shop had been kicking around for a while and when they spotted a local place for rent they decided to take the plunge. The name had been decided on years ago – Nook really struck a chord because it sounded friendly, approachable and conjures up a small, snug space.
Nook sells English and European products. Because they buy products ‘little and often’ it gives them the flexibility to try pieces out and experiment. Their collection includes a range of core items which are supplemented with anything that catches their eye. The common theme running through their selection is good design and usefulness. To give you an idea of what’s on offer, the trio have picked out their top 5 products …
Isokon Penguin Donkey: Designed by Egon Riss in 1939 this plywood bookcase holds 80 classic Penguin books. Handmade in Chiswick, West London by Isokon
Faplana Sugar Bowl: Cafe staple made in Portugal, this bright red melamine sugar bowl has its origins in the 1950s-60s
Weck Storage Jars: German glass storage jars which can be used for anything from rice to baby food, home-made chutneys and freshly squeezed juices
Falcon Enamel Beakers: We offer a wide range of Falcon enamel products in store, but these re-designed beakers in a new shape and fresh colour ways work anywhere, from your bathroom to the camp site
Blodwen Mamgu’s Pure Beeswax Candle: Organic candles which are handmade in Cardigan Bay, Wales, with their subtle scent and stylish packing they are also available in ‘Mor’, the scent of the sea
They have an expansive shop window with minimal dressing to allow passers-by to get a good look inside. The shop is small but spacious because of the display simplicity. They are mindful that people want to view the objects without being afraid of things falling off shelves and need to navigate with their baby buggy and shopping bags. The interiors are very much down to the owners, who got their hands dirty – removing the flooring to find a rustic wooden floor, building the shelving and painting the walls. The only thing they didn’t do was write the sign on the shop facia …
For now the trio have undefined roles and are all pitching in to get the business off the ground. They have a good track record of relevant experience to draw upon; Jack has previously worked as a retail manager, Gemma is a visual coordinator and stylist and Kate is from a fashion PR background. They all agree that the benefits of running your own business is the freedom to buy what you want and the excitement of people falling in love with the pieces and enjoying them at home. The downside is that ‘the buck stops with you,’ but their advice is that it’s easier than you think to set up a business and if it’s a dream of yours – just go for it.
Stoke Newington is a great place to potter around, why not make a day of it and visit Nook and Clissold Park (see my homes and interiors shopping guide to the area). Nook is located at 153 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 OUH. For further information, check out www.nookshop.co.uk.
Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Nook, special thanks to Jack, Kate and Gemma.