London is a crowded city and independent retailers are popping up all the time so when you find an interiors store such as Do South it’s worth raving about!
As the name suggests, you must head South of the river to the bustle of Crystal Palace to find Do South. It’s there you’ll find a wonderfully curated mix of one off pieces found on distant travels to more contemporary homewares and lighting. It’s a varied mix where there is most certainly something for everyone.
We wanted to pick the brain of the man behind the store…
Here’s our 5 minutes with Freddie Oke!
Tell us about the first place you called “home” and how did you make it your own?
The first place I truly called home was back in 2000 when I could finally explore my creative being. I found a beautiful art deco Eileen Grey sofa and styled it with an Arco light from Floss – a brand that I admired and now am proud to sell. This was how I first discovered unknown entities to me and found things that I liked, purely for me – for example African artefacts that were passed on to me from my grandparents and vintage textiles from my South American travels.
Do South is an eclectic mix of travel inspired homewares, vintage items and independent designers – tell us about your ethos, what gets a thumbs up and what doesn’t make the cut?
“Interiors with Imagination”
I’ve always been quite intuitive – there isn’t really a set formula, I follow my heart – if I feel it, it goes in the store. So far, this seems to be working! At Do South we like to offer a believable collection, everything in store makes sense. It’s how people live… no one will just shop from one brand, you mix it up, put the old with the new, the muted with the bold. That’s how I like to style the store. We have many customers that simply love to come in, listen to our music (played on our beautiful Ruark R7!), explore the store and chill out. They feel at home, and that’s what moves me. I like to inspire, and live by our motto – ‘Interiors with Imagination’.
You’ve recently worked with a range of bloggers on a styling project, tell us the idea behind this collaboration.
We had a brilliant day back at the beginning of March – we invited four wonderful bloggers to our store to run riot and create something beautiful. Each blogger had a very different style – we had just that week launched the webstore, so the idea was to invite the bloggers to express their style with our products; to show just how varied and usable our range is; to show the diversity – the extremes of styles. We ended up with four incredible shots – a minimalist sofa shot in muted greys and blush tones, a bold African inspired console shot, a simplistic shelving shot using our String System, and a vintage feminine room set focusing our the Ruark R7 and a wonderful, untouched vintage armchair and footstool set. We ate good food (with breakfast from The Blackbird Bakery, and lunch from Crystal Thai), had fun and spent the day doing what we all love! We’re hoping to make this a regular, seasonal thing so what this space..!
What does the future hold for Do South?
Do South is continually evolving. We are always on the hunt for the next new thing, with our most recent new development being a window display installation to showcase the new curtain fittings range from the wonderful Casamance! We also have big plans for the store itself, with a Japanese tea room in the pipeline, as well as in-store events and perhaps even an art installation on the outside of the store… we have such a brilliant spot, on the top of the hill overlooking the city, we want to make the most of it. Again, it goes back to our moto – ‘interiors with imagination’ – anything is possible!
What advice would you offer to any budding independent retailers out there? Is there something you’d tell your younger self when starting Do South?
Follow your instincts – do what you love and others are sure to love it to. It’ll be tough, and there will be days that you just can’t see a clear path, but it’ll be totally worth it once you find your way. As I said at the beginning, there is no formula!
Thanks Freddie for taking the time to answer our questions!