Thursday, 24 April, 2014

 
Published January 11, 2014
Home & Garden
Hip-Street finds
Speciality stores that stock well-curated pieces with a strong design focus find favour with hipsters. By Tay Suan Chiang
RedundantShop11012014

MOVE over coffee joints. The latest hipster venture to be in is retail - selling specially curated lifestyle products, from notebooks to fashion accessories, home accessories and even bicycles - PHOTO: THE REDUNDANT SHOP

RedundantShop11012014

'Our approach is a little different, we try not to compete in terms of retail but we focus on creating unique experiences for our audiences.'
- Colin Chen, one of the three founders of Tyrwhitt General Company

MOVE over coffee joints. The latest hipster venture to be in is retail - selling specially curated lifestyle products, from notebooks to fashion accessories, home accessories and even bicycles.

Take a new kid on the block - the Redundant Shop at Everton Park, which opened last month. Tucked under a block of flats in this emerging hipster neighbourhood no less, founder Watson Lee says the idea came about after readers of his Redundant Magazine started asking where they could find the cool stuff they read about. "We started off as an online shop before moving into a physical one."

The shop carries products from all around the world, including KiBiSi from Denmark, Diamantina & La Perla from Colombia, and local labels such as Ang Ku Kueh Girl, Desinere and Woon Hung.

Lifestyle shops carrying independent brands have been popping up in recent years. Other shops that are popular with the hipster crowd include Strangelets, Supermama and Tyrwhitt General Company.

Mr Lee does not think he is late in jumping on the bandwagon. "What we are offering may look similar to many, but we are different from the rest," he says. "Unlike other indie shops, which stock mostly fashion products and accessories, The Redundant Shop curates products based on our magazines' six categories - Architectural, Design, Gadgets, Rides, Culture and Style."

He cites an example under the magazine's Ride category, which features cars, bikes and bicycles. "You will probably not find helmets or bikers' accessories in other indie shops except ours. For bicycles, most of the other indie shops may have a bicycle on display, but we don't just display them, we sell more than four different brands."

Those who have already been running their shops for a period of time, say they are unfazed by the competition.

Edwin Low says that when he first started Supermama in 2011, "I had this impression that competition would be stiff, and other independent shops were against me. However, when I was finally in it, it's actually a close-knit community with everyone egging one another on."

Colin Chen, one of the three founders of Tyrwhitt General Company says, "Our approach is a little different, we try not to compete in terms of retail but we focus on creating unique experiences for our audiences." TGC often holds workshops to showcase the work of designers so that customers know what they can do.

If anything, Mr Chen welcomes more such shops. "We always say that stores in Singapore are boring, but I think we are starting to see the boom in design-focused stores which is great for the local community in general."

taysc@sph.com.sg