Meet Life Story – Edinburgh’s Best Scandi Shop
If you like the clean, minimalist lines of Scandinavian design then there is one store in Edinburgh you need to pay a visit to: Life Story on 53 London Street (there is also an online shop if you’re based somewhere else than Edinburgh!). We love a bit of Nordic design and having visited the shop (too) many times we want to share this gem with our followers as well! We got in touch with the lovely owner, Susan, and asked her a few questions about her business. And it gets even better: Susan is giving away a gorgeous Gift Box by HAY, so make sure you scroll down to find out how to enter the competition (the giveaway is now closed)!
For readers who haven’t heard of Life Story, what is it that you do?
Life Story is a concept-store, a hybrid of coffee and design. The stock is Scandinavian design-led products – – home wares, prints, jewellery, accessories and stationery – – from Danish design houses (ferm Living, HAY and House Doctor for example) curated with smaller local and UK-based makers that share the same Nordic influences (Polymorphics, Wolf & Moon, Hidden Stag Design, Natalie J Wood and Ingrid Petrie to name just a few).
So it’s a retail store with a completely integrated coffee bar, serving espresso based coffees, teas and vegan/gluten free cakes. The displays, as well as the coffee roasters, are ever-changing and I buy by instinct and eye. I know what I love and am very lucky to have a following that shares my appreciation of this kind of aesthetic.
What was the inspiration behind Life Story and how did you get started?
Life Story is my second business; in 2007 I set up Hula Juice Bar which is still the biggest part of my day-job. My earlier career was in the world of digital design and I’ve got a real passion for minimalist Scandinavian style as well as coffee culture, both of which were formed when living in Melbourne a decade ago and visiting wonderful cities like Copenhagen and Stockholm in the time since.
Concept-stores are not hard to find these places and although the design community in Edinburgh is diverse and excellent, I feel that we’ve still got potential to really put Edinburgh on the map. My inspiration was to bring to Edinburgh the kind of store that I seek out when abroad, an inspiring place where you feel just at home with a coffee flicking through our magazines as you might be shopping for a unique gift. My mind wouldn’t let go of it so I wrote a one-page business plan and once more I took that entrepreneurial leap of faith.
What are your 3 favourite Scandi products at the moment?
This spring I’m excited to bring the iconic Kähler to Edinburgh. The brand started 175 years ago in a little pottery workshop in Næstved, Denmark and I especially love their timeless Omaggio vases and lighthouses. Other favourites are the concrete pendants by local maker Squid Ink, and the HAY flowerpots in concrete grey – in fact everything by HAY is on my wishlist right now.
What would you recommend as a Valentine’s Day gift?
There are some things you can’t go wrong with: our Wolf & Moon pendants are really special and I love the minimal frames by ferm Living. Those buying for stationery addicts are spoiled for choice in Life Story right now. I always think an ‘experience gift’ is a good option, giving a loved one the opportunity to try something that they might not have – e.g. an upcoming Macramé class or Weaving workshop at Life Story is a nice option.
What’s new for Life Story in 2017?
Last year I opened up the back area and extended the shopfloor. The extra light, space and the atmosphere makes it perfect for events. I’ll be putting on more artist demonstrations, workshops and classes, largely with brands and artists whose products I retail in the store but not exclusively so. I’m keen to develop the coffee side of the business and will start working with new roasters, the same goes for the cakes – I stock Grams raw cakes and am looking forward to offering their bites and maybe cheesecakes too. New designers will include Tilly Hemingway, Cooee and Kähler and I will continue to broaden the collections from HAY and House Doctor. There will always be a few surprises in store.
What’s your perfect Edinburgh day?
I recently did a pottery class and enjoyed the escape of the focused activity so much that my perfect day off would now include an escape like that. Not before making coffee of course, being a home barista has its benefits! On days off we usually take a long walk with our dog, either on Portobello Beach or a mooch through the New Town via Broughton St and Stockbridge; I love that most stores are dog friendly now. I never tire of the Old Town so if the afternoon is free, a walk around that area, appreciating the architecture and independent stores of the Grassmarket area is always a treat. Dinner in my favourite family restaurant-business of all time, Timberyard, would turn the day into complete perfection.
What’s the first thing you’d recommend a visitor to Edinburgh does?
Climb up Calton Hill to take in the views and get orientated before starting to explore. I lived in Edinburgh for 16 years before I did this (I know!) so now it’s my top tip.
And finally….Win a romantic Gift Box by HAY!
This pretty gift box (worth £59) is perfect for those romantic moments when you want to snuggle up on the sofa with your partner and a glass of wine. The crystal white wine glasses have beautiful gold lines on them, the sand-coloured wool coasters feel luxurious and the golden steel tray can be used for many purposes. It could also be the perfect gift for someone you care about!
The competition starts at noon on Tuesday the 7th of February 2017 and ends at noon on Sunday the 12th of February 2017. The competition is open to everybody over 18 in the UK. We will pick the winner within 24 hours after the competition has ended and contact the lucky person either through email or the social media platform they have used to enter the giveaway.
How do I enter the competition?
There are several alternatives:
4. Simply comment on this blog post.
5. Email [email protected] stating your full name.
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