Q&A: Daisy Hollings, Telling Tales, London Fields

Tell us a bit about Telling Tales and what you do: Telling Tales sells illustrated children’s books. We started off as an online store but have expanded into a shop, which allows people to come in and browse the books. I find buying a book can be a very tactile experience. The shop is family-run and I’m there every Saturday. I love meeting customers and always have wonderful conversations with people about the books they love and how they choose books for their children. We’re also starting to hold events in the shop and last Saturday we hosted a free storytelling, craft and creativity event for kids aged 3-10 with author Sandra Dieckmann from Flying Eye Books.

What’s the inspiration behind Telling Tales?: Frustration. I have two daughters (Pip, 5, and Bea, 3) who really enjoy stories at bedtime. I love buying books for them but I used to be a bit of an Amazon culprit and started getting really frustrated with the recommendation process. I wanted to be able to choose beautiful books that would feed their imaginations and challenge their thinking, so Telling Tales was created with this in mind. I want to inspire children to learn about whatever they find interesting. Books are for everyone and shouldn’t be gender- or age-specific.

What’s the highlight of running your business?: Finding new illustrators and authors, and meeting parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children, book lovers, authors and illustrators in the shop and on social media. Books bring people together.

What’s next for Telling Tales?: That’s a big question. Hopefully we’ll continue to grow and people will continue to discover new and beautiful books with us. We’d also like to hold more events for children and parents.

What is your favourite kids’ shop in London?: There are so many but I’m a big fan of Cissy Wears. The sheer range of independent brands is incredible and I love their ethical standpoint, selling beautiful children’s clothes and toys that are made to last. There are so many other amazing shops, including some that may not be considered ‘just for children’. For example, Eastern Biological is a curated shop that’s natural history-themed and full of curios for adults and kids.

Describe your perfect day in London with your kids: The perfect day would start at 8am (instead of 5 or 6am!) with a dog walk in Hackney Marshes, followed by a scout around a museum – either the Tate Modern or our local National Trust property, Sutton House. We wouldn’t be tied down by time and we’d be able to enjoy spending time together without feeling the need to rush around.


Photo Credit: Daisy Hollings