“We loved our old space,” admits Insidestore founder Andrea Bates, of their previous location almost opposite Tufnell Park tube station. “We really did. The piano factory and the courtyard space were super charming.”
“But,” she adds, with a smile, “this became available – and we had to come and take a look at it.”
For years the Fortess Road outlet had been a William Hill. “And I was just like ‘oh god, actually this is really great’, and started thinking seriously about it.”
At the same time Fortess Road yoga studio Down to Earth really wanted to expand. “So we then started the conversation about them moving into where we were.”
To cut a long story short, eventually the landlord agreed and a return to the vibrant street, where her original Future & Found store started out back in 2012, swiftly became an actuality. (Incidentally, you can find out why the name changed to Insidestore in our article here.)
“Yes, this is my third location within about a hundred metres,” she says, laughing. “But I think many customers never saw the full offer in the last location round the corner. So whilst we loved it, it wasn’t sort of playing to our strengths in terms of curation and clarity.”
The new shop, which opened last autumn – before Covid disrupted everything for much of this year – is airy, with big street-facing windows and a deep rectangular shape that’s surely made for interiors.
“It’s a much more commercial conventional retail space, but it’s been really good for us. When we first opened I can’t tell you how many people thought we were a brand new shop, despite having only moved down the road. It’s also a simpler space for us to operate and it means we can focus on the product and display and, because it’s big and open and square, move things around a bit easier.”
The current product range is about 50% furniture and lighting, 50% accessories and gifts. “Obviously at this time of year we really focus on the gift side of things and Christmas. Generally though, since moving here we’ve really expanded the lifestyle product range, because we’re getting more customers through the door, and obviously we’re a local store which people are happier than ever to support. They also want to see new stuff so, as well as the firm favourites, so we bring in fresh stock much more frequently here.”
Finally, what’s the secret to surviving in 2020? “We take one week at a time, and split our time more between the store and online,” says Andrea. “We try to find useful, beautiful products that are high quality but with a quiet playfulness. I want the store to be an experiential thing – and perhaps a bit of escapism for people in these gloomy times, too.”
STOP PRESS! InsideStore is offering readers a very special discount code to pick up a bargain before Xmas. Just use LOVENW5 to get a 10% discount on your order and select ‘collect from store’ to pop by and pick up, thereby avoiding any delivery charge. One use per customer. Find Insidestore, open daily 10am-630pm, 155-157 Fortess Rd NW5 2HR. Visit the website here.
Update 3rd Nov: Insidestore is operating click and collect all through lockdown so people can come any time 10-4 during November.
Main image: Stephen Emms