We love mooching about Crouch End, one of our favourite corners of London. One of Big Munch’s beloved bathtime toys (a watering can!) was found in the Niddle Noddle store. Possibly the best Christmas gift I could have bought her, apart from her broom of course. The Niddle Noddle online shop was launched 4 years ago by Eilidh Fraser and Katrine Camillo. They then opened their actual bricks and mortar shop in September 2013. Eilidh spoke to Lucky Things blog about the world of Niddle Noddle…
How did Niddle Noddle come about? Katrine is originally from Denmark and has worked in various careers including photography and I worked as a professional actress for 20 years. We met in a local park by chance when our daughters were young. My husband is Danish and Katrine overheard him speaking to my daughter in Danish and we soon got chatting. We were both looking for a more stable career, something that could easily combine work and motherhood.
What do you love about running the Niddle Noddle store?
We’re both interested in kids design and quite soon after meeting we started discussing the possibility of setting up an online kids boutique. We also started selling at fairs and markets and began to build up a loyal following.
What’s your advice for other peeps who want to set up their own business? Any challenges you managed to juggle ok?
I think that because there were 2 of us, it was easier. We were able to support and encourage each other. We also did some pop up shops to test the market before taking the plunge and opening a permanent shop. It’s a huge commitment and a gamble, so you have to be pretty confident you can offer your customers something they want.We go to trade shows all over Europe to source exciting fresh talent and tend to go for smaller labels which are harder to find in the UK (sometimes only in our shop) and not too expensive.
What do you think people love about coming to the Niddle Noddle store?
Lots of our customers comment on the feeling of nostalgia they get when they come into our shop, seeing lots of things from their childhood, that’s really nice. We try to keep the stock fresh and are always bringing in new finds! The shop has a easy feel and we try to keep it relaxed so that our customers come back! Children are encouraged to pick up toys and have a go. And of course there is the slide! So the kids can have fun on the slide while the adults shop! We also stock lots of one off pieces (from all over the world), hand made toys and knitwear. We do stock some of the bigger toy brands such as Djeco, Janod and Vilac because we like them but most of the things we stock are unique to our shop.We have a big range of pocket money toys which have a traditional/retro feel as well as some actual vintage toys.
What are your top tips for juggling a busy family life and a business?
It’s always tricky finding the right balance between family and work! In the beginning, it was just the two of us and we pretty much both had to be at the shop all time. That was really tough on us and our families but we now have some lovely staff working for us which means we’re not having to be in the shop every day. We’ve taken our kids with us to Europe to see where we source some of our stock and they were very excited to be involved. Sometimes they spend time in the shop (their choice), I think it’s fun for them and they like helping out. And of course the slide is a huge draw.We try as much as possible to be able to collect our kids from school most days. It was one of the reasons we set up the business together, to enable us to be able to combine work and family life to suit us. Of course, it does help that there are two of us to share the load.
What’s your top tip for parents and carers?
I don’t really have a top tip as far as parenting goes, it’s important to have fun but also to say ‘no’ sometimes.
What are some of your own favourite songs you enjoy playing to your children?
As far as what my daughter is listening to at the moment, quite a wide range of music, contemporary and classic – a healthy mix I think.
She does keep asking to listen to Nightcall by Kavinsky over and over whenever we are in the car!
What are 3 of your lucky things?
We’d probably say that our families and friends make us feel happy and lucky. And because we have such lovely customers, it’s a pleasure coming to work so that makes us pretty lucky!
The shop is located in Crouch End:
5 Topsfield Parade
Photos by Stuart Edmondstone and published with permission from Niddle Noddle.