What?: I’d love to say I’ve just discovered this awesome new kids’ shop that no one else has ever heard of, but I’m late to the party with this one – as in seven years late. In my defence I’ve never heard anyone mention this place, never seen anyone post about it on social media and never come across it in any of my many online searches, though all three of these things are totally baffling because it’s great and everyone should be shouting about it.
The shop front is very unassuming, with a cool but very simple sign that you could easily walk right past without noticing. I did notice, but then I actively seek out these places as some sort of weird, unpaid non-living, so of course I did. I was actually on my way to a playground having just had an amazing double-toddler-nap coffee date with my friend in a cafe just up the street. Said toddlers were on the cusp of said naps, which could probably have done with lasting a bit longer, and very angry consciousness, but we couldn’t not go in because KIDS’ SHOP (obviously they both woke up the second we walked through the door).
The inside of the store is really beautifully arranged and colourful. It felt cool and distinctive, and reminded me of some of the uber-hip indie shops we’ve discovered on our visits to Germany and The Netherlands, with products stylishly arranged across wall-hung rails and vintage shelving. The clothing is brilliantly different, with comfortwear in jazzy prints by Indikidual, snazzy party tutus by Lemonade Bubbles, and a brilliant range of shoes for school and play from the likes of Bobux and Hummel (Mothers Hub also offers an in-store shoe-measurement service, though for obvious reasons that currently involves the staff showing you from a distance how to measure your own kids’ feet).
Mothers Hub’s big thing, however, is sustainability. The shop, unusually for its kind, sells “nearly new” second-hand clothes and reimburses customers who donate hand-me-downs for resale – but only the absolute best bits. Actually the nearly new section looked just as exciting as the rails that were stocked with brand new pieces, and I loved the idea that these under-worn pieces were being given another chance to be loved – because, let’s face it, most of the time our kids outgrow stuff before it’s had anywhere near enough wear.
Also on offer here is an absolutely excellent selection of kids’ books, accessories, homeware and toys, which Roma was very interested in until the owner asked if I could maybe not let her touch absolutely everything because y’know, killer virus, which was fair enough. I’m always kind of tempted to let her run free in these places because she’s such an angry buggy-dweller, but that’s probably extremely annoying for the staff – especially since she’s such a perennially snotty human tornado. But yeah, now there’s also Covid, which is a pretty good reason not to let the kids go wild and has incidentally also very sadly put a temporary stop to this shop’s weekly programme of parent-and-baby events, including postnatal fitness and wellbeing groups, under-fives drama and a couple of excellent-sounding music classes. Proper shame, but I’m just glad it’s survived in any capacity. Seven years is a long time in the fickle world of independent retail, and this place should feel smug as hell for making it this far. Long may it reign.
Where & When?: Find Mothers Hub at 133 Wood Street, Walthamstow. It’s a four-minute walk from Wood Street Overground and an 18-minute walk from Walthamstow Central Tube/Overground. Opening hours are 12-4 Wednesday, 11-5 Thursday-Friday and 10-5 Saturday.
Best Bits: The space is so pretty and I wanted to buy literally everything.
Worst Bits: Only that we’ve wasted seven years not knowing about this place.
Price Range: Reasonable for the quality on offer.
Would We Come Again?: Yes.
Ro chills in her buggy at Mothers Hub, Walthamstow.