Two large models of Miffy rabbits, the children’s book character, stare out of the window in a small shop located close to the end of Shoreditch High Street. Even though the shop looks small, there is something intriguing about it, something that makes us want to know more about Maiden, the mixed-bag gift shop that puts the fun back into shopping.
Inside, there is a relaxed atmosphere. It is difficult to define Maiden: you can find everything from books, toys and cards, to home accessories here. Noah Crutchfield, the owner of the shop, started Maiden in November 2009: “I have worked in retail since I left school starting off as a sales assistant and then working my way up to become a manager and buyer at places like the Royal Academy of Arts, the Design Museum and Southbank Centre. I’ve always enjoyed working in retail and last year I felt that I had gained enough experience to run my own business. I thought it would be a great challenge for me at this point in my life and I also wanted to have complete creative control over the environment I worked in.”
“I particularly wanted to open a shop in east London because I have lived in the area for the past five years and I think it is such an amazing part of the city. It’s full of fun, creative, interesting people and amazing shops, bars, clubs and markets. I want Maiden to become an established part of the East London scene.”
Full of enthusiasm, he explains the idea behind his store: ‘’My mission is to sell nice things to nice people in a nice environment. I want Maiden to reflect my personality and ethics through the products I select for the shop and the design and branding too. I want the shop to have its own unique identity and a place that people come to because the atmosphere is as fun as all of the products are. When selecting items for the shop I try to find things that either make me smile, intrigue me or make we think “WOW”. The feel of a product when you pick it up is very important too. So is its packaging.”
Some of the most popular products are home accessories, such as animal shaped egg cups, and Miffy models, which are in fact large lamps. If you are looking for something fun or out of the ordinary, be it a giant rubber duck, a handbook on how to read hands, or a building set for a toy theatre, Maiden is the place to go.
Noah is offering an exclusive 15% discount to ELL readers. Simply print out the voucher below, and buy yourself something nice.