HUB MEETS 'SOPHIE MACBAIN'
This week we ventured a little way beyond Church Street and popped into the beautiful new store that is, Sophie Macbain (formerly known as The Restoration.) The shop is bright, spacious and has everything in there from lighting, clocks, rugs, and baskets to vintage furniture, sofas and faux botanicals.
It really is a wonderful emporium for homeware enthusiasts.
I met with Sophie.
Tell us about your journey to where you are now.
'We moved to Stoke Newington in 2007 and bought our first home. Like for many first time buyers, we became obsessed with all things home interiors. Whilst still working our 'proper jobs', we began buying, restoring and selling vintage furniture as a side project. A year later, we left our jobs and went full time! The business grew from there. We added home furnishings and interiors to our stock in 2013 and bespoke furniture and interior design services after that.
We moved into Stoke Newington's old ballroom in Bouverie Mews in 2012 and had 7 very happy years there, growing the business and forging relationships with our customers and the local community. But after a huge rent increase in January of this year, we took the decision to relocate and find a new space on the High Street. And here we are.'
What drew you to this particular space?
'We were really keen to have a good frontage... We had always dreamed of beautiful window displays so when we saw this one - the big windows and double frontage were a significant 'pull'. When we first viewed the shop, it was a really dreary day but the space was still light and bright and we got a good feeling straight away.'
What has been the biggest joy and biggest challenge of opening a new store in these times?
'This probably sounds silly but it's been really nice to work amongst our products again... By the time we opened in June, we hadn't seen our products for nearly 5 months. There's so much 'behind the scenes' work that goes into curating the shop; we select each product individually, usually with someone in mind, and we have a policy that if we don't love it enough to have it in our own home, we wouldn't sell it in our shop. So opening the shop has been a bit like seeing old friends again.
The days leading up to opening on the 15th June were pretty challenging. I think a lot of shop owners felt anxious about whether customers were going to come out and start shopping again... Everyone has been absolutely amazing though; people are more positive than forecasters would have you believe and the local community in Stoke Newington have really come out and supported us at a time when we need them the most. They are one of a kind!'
What are your most cherished 3 items in-store right now?
'A good cup of tea is a big part of my day and I actually find it difficult to find mugs that are the right shape and size and also look good. These ceramic mugs are both; simple and elegant in glazed ceramic with a stone base, and a perfect size - not too heavy.'
'Going back to the products being like old friends, the Brass Planter with Mango Base is definitely an old friend. I love the combination of the materials - mango wood and brass. (The latter really comes alive when a plant is added.) It's one of the longest standing in our collection and easily one of our best sellers.'
CERAMIC MUGS £8.50 / PLANTER £95
'I love the simplicity of the Large Gold Mirror and the elegance of the frame. I often find frames on mirrors too heavy or bulky but this one is just right. Mirrors are a functional piece but they can still be beautiful and this one can make a huge impact on a room. We have 3 in our house and they get lots of comments!'
LARGE GOLD MIRROR £175
WHERE TO FIND SOHPIE MACBAIN
71 Stoke Newington High Street
And online HERE