Olive Loves Alfie is now permanently closed, but check out owner Ashlyn’s new venture, Bless, here.
What?: Award-winning ‘family lifestyle store’ with branches in Stoke Newington and Stratford’s East Village. The name originates from a T-shirt that founder Ashlyn Gibson made for her daughter Olive’s best friend Alfie, professing her love for him, more than 10 years ago. On offer is an impressive though predictably pricy selection of Scandi-style clothing, toys and homeware. You can also pick up Gibson’s amazing interior design books Creative Family Home and Creative Children’s Spaces, attend a variety of child-themed workshops at the East Village branch, and personalise your own ‘x loves x’ tee via the gorgeous website. I’m going to get Bab one declaring her love for our cat (sadly the feeling isn’t mutual at this point, but Bab’s working on that).
Where?: We visited the Stoke Newington Church Street store on our way back from Yummy Yummy in My Tummy Kids’ Cafe, which I wasn’t overly impressed with. I was expecting big things from Olive Loves Alfie, having been a fan of their website for a while, although I have to say, given the vastness of choice on the site, I was a bit disappointed by how tiny the store was. I am, however, still really interested in visiting the newer East Village store, which promises to be bigger, brighter, more beautiful and much more of a showroom for the brand, even though I find that area of London really weird because it’s always completely dead and so surreal it makes me feel like I’m inside Grand Theft Auto.
Discovery: I knew about O♥A from my previous life working for a trend forecaster. It’s also one of the first things that popped up when I started researching interesting things to do with a baby in London.
Best Bits: Most products, including clothes, are unisex, which in theory I think is really nice because it means kids are free to express themselves without the burden of outmoded gender ideals – although tbh if someone mistakes my daughter for a boy I will end them. Also I think this is one of those shops that is always going to have the ‘quirky’ label slapped on it regardless of what it actually sells just because it’s independent and not Jojo Maman Bebe, but the product selection is genuinely unusual with loads of products I haven’t seen stocked elsewhere.
Worst Bits: I don’t feel the tiny space did this amazing shop justice.
Price Range: It’s not cheap, but most clothes and toys are under £50. Furniture goes up to £1,500 but is all insanely beautiful.
Would We Come Back?: Probably not to this store, but we’ll absolutely give the East Village branch a try and I would always return to their website.
Bab drinks from the Design Letters cup and plays with the Mr Maria Miffy lamp, both from Olive Loves Alfie