In Maiden, his shop on London’s Shoreditch High Street, Noah Crutchfield is purveyor of all things fun and lovely. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of everything you’ll want, immediately. The shop’s mantra is, ‘we are serious about not taking ourselves too seriously’ – quite right, too, sir. Read on to meet Noah, and discover in what circumstances the following become relevant – ketchup, Lady Gaga, Peter Andre and the Archbishop of Canterbury…
Tell us all about your lovely shop. We don’t sell life’s ‘necessities’. We sell things you’ll want to own or give as gifts simply because they are fun and lovely. The shop is great fun, very light hearted and makes people smile. Maiden sells a varied mix of homeware, gifts, lighting, books and toys. I’ve always believed that not every object has to be essential be valid. Tomato ketchup is not an essential but it certainly makes a plate of Iceland curly fries taste better. That’s my mantra for Maiden. We’re the ketchup, the chocolate on the pillow, the cherry on the cake. We don’t stock what you need; we stock what you want (even though you can’t necessarily understand why you want it). Put it this way, it’s much more fun working out how little money you have to survive on till the next pay day with a calculator that looks and smells like a bar of Dairy Milk than some dull functional Casio thing.
Where does the name come from? I wanted something that referred to the shop being my first solo venture. I guess opening my shop was a bit like embarking on a maiden voyage. The name Maiden conjures up the idea of something being new, fresh and untested.
What did your first-ever customer buy? Typically it was pouring with rain on our first day so the first ever customer ran in out of the torrential downpour and bought an umbrella
I recently gave my husband one of your tiger head egg cups for his birthday. As a massive fan of both tigers and boiled eggs, he was over the moon! It was a total success. How do you pick such brilliant stock? Well, I am VERY particular about what we sell at Maiden. I look for products that make me smile, that are well made and that are different. One of the really exciting parts of owning a shop is filling it to the rafters with amazing products. I spend a good proportion of my day glued to my laptop trawling the internet on the lookout for new products. I’m also lucky to have lots of friends who travel and shop a lot. They always send me photos of things they see that they think would be good for the shop. Maiden is also very democratic and interactive. I love to get chatting with customers and ask them what they want to see stocked in shop. Since opening I’ve had so many excellent product suggestions from customers. I think they like the idea of being able to walk into a shop, be served by the owner and also get the opportunity to chip in ideas and give feedback. They get to speak to the organ grinder and not the monkey! The animal egg cups are a perfect Maiden product. They are lovingly designed, beautifully made, they are functional and they are affordable. I’m glad your husband liked his gift!
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