I have lived in over 15 different postcodes in London but haven’t felt more at home than I do now working and living between N16 and E5. I moved to Stoke Newington over 15 years ago when I was working as a designer heading up iconic British brand Red Or Dead. This is where my daughter Olive has grown up. I have worked in the fashion business all of my life – from the 80s heydays on Camden market selling my own jewellery to opening my own shop on Stoke Newington Church Street. Olive Loves Alfie was the culmination of over 20 years of experience. It tells the story of my travels and is the place where all of my ideas and passion come together. I opened the store amidst a staid culture of gender obsessed retailers who couldn’t see beyond blue for boys and pink for girls. Changing attitudes, discovering and introducing some of the first Scandinavian collections to the UK and supporting new British designers is integral to the spirit of Olive Loves Alfie. I love working closely with progressive and imaginative creators and am happy to have had such a positive influence on the world of children’s retail.
There is always a lot going on behind the scenes and I have a great team who share my passion and who help to pull everything together. In September 2013 my debut book, Creative Family Home, was published by Ryland Peters and Small. It celebrates and inspires imaginative and original family living through a study of 13 family homes around Europe and it’s full of practical ideas. My first co-edition arrived a few weeks ago in Finnish and versions in Dutch, German, Italian and Korean are in the making.
‘A new interiors bible’ The Independent.
“The non-conformist mum”. Evening Standard
“There’s a lovely shop in London called Olive Loves Alfie”. The Guardian
“A joyous handbook for cool, fun family living in all its candy-hued, quirky, creative glory. It’s inspirational, but real too”. Sarah Bailey, Editor Red Magazine.
I love my work but the downside is that I rarely switch off – there just aren’t enough hours in the day. On trips away when I was working for big design companies my first port of call was to book in for a treatment – shiatsu in Japan and communal reflexology in China. I would love to inject more of that into my life but here it is seen as more of a treat and less a part of daily life.
When I do have the opportunity I love nothing more than slowing down and catching up with myself over a massage. My latest discovery was a hot stone massage with Georgie at Shine Holistic. The gentle pressure of hot oily stones was more relaxing than any treatment that I have ever had. There was something profoundly grounding about the touch of natural pebbles. I slipped into a deep state of relaxation followed by the best sleep that I have had in years.
What’s next? – When i’m not working on Olive Loves Alfie you can find me writing or styling about kids and family style for magazines around the world.
Follow my daily inspiration on instagram ashlyn_stylist and olivelovesalfie
P.S. All Shine members receive 10% discount at Olive Loves Alfie, just mention Shine at the till.
By Ashlyn Gibson
Art Direction – Styling – Interior Writing
Inspired Kids www.redonline.co.uk
Styling represented by www.refresh-agency.com