Beyond Creative: Forest London

Hey folks! Firstly I must apologise for going M.I.A for the past several weeks! Things have been unbelievable manic in my HOP world and it appears that I too have been caught up in both the excitement and an Olympic 2012 vortex. It’s been such a pleasure to walk around the sunny streets of London, brimming from ear to ear with Olympic excitement and watching the games within touching distance from the stadium. So what will we do without the Olympics?? Well we have round two to come (of which I will be attending and I will be blogging about my visit to the Olympic Park) but for now I’ll keep you creatively occupied with another of my amazingly creative discoveries. 

Meet Eva Coppens. I met Eva and stumbled across her fabulous store Forest London whilst on my way to Clerkenwell Design Week. Drawn by Eva’s eye for exquisite, Scandinavian style furniture I just had to walk in and I’m so glad I did. Eva coming from a fashion focused background can certainly turn her creative-eye to furniture, interiors and collaborations. I interviewed Eva to find out what makes her tick and how she puts her pieces together.

HOP: Did you always know that you wanted to work within interiors and own your very own store

EC: The textiles in the shop were designed in collaboration with the eco-friendly print designer Tamasyn Gambell, with whom I interned whilst studying Fashion Marketing at LCF – from which I graduated last year. We had several meetings in which we discussed inspiration/colour ways and which fabrics would suit certain pieces of furniture best. 

I definitely didn’t think I would ever own my own store – I always thought I’d be in marketing and PR, whether fashion or design related.


HOP: How did it all begin

EC: I have always been very much in love with Scandinavian design – I guess it started in fashion – I absolutely adored the minimalist + clean lines and organic forms of brands such as Whyred, Acne, Marlene Birger and FIlippa K. 

Then I once went to a mid century design warehouse in The Netherlands (where I’m from) and absolutely fell in love with all the pieces that originated in Scandinavia – which made me think that it would be great to showcase them in London and also inform the customer more about the history of Nordic design.

At the time pop up shops were becoming more and more the norm in Central London – especially in the Camden area as they had a fantastic scheme for young designer makers and entrepreneurs to borrow an empty shop for 2-4 weeks. Coming back to the furniture – I then convinced the owners of the warehouse to have some pieces of them on a consignment basis. The shop I had was on Clerkenwell Road (just a few doors down from my permanent shop now!) and it did so well that I had to get a second load in after being open for just a couple of days! 

After that I also had a pop up shop in Hampstead, but that experience convinced me that I should have my permanent store on Clerkenwell Road – there is such a great vibe and energy here, with many independents on Leather Lane, Lamb’s Conduit and nearby areas.

HOP: What challenges did you face when opening your own store

EC: The biggest challenge was probably having to do most of the refurbishment (the shop was in a horrible state) myself – my first builders had scammed me as they walked off with my £2,500 grand deposit so there wasn’t much of a budget to work with… But you live and learn and I did thoroughly enjoy doing the shop up – my mum, dad and sisters are extremely hard workers and have done many places up themselves so it was nice to show to them that I can do a bit of that as well. To be honest my sister did come over from Amsterdam for a week and worked like crazy– without her I would not have been able to get the shop open on the deadline I had set for myself!

HOP: What are your top tips for anyone wanting to start their own creative business

EC: Determination, knowing what you want and how you are going to provide something unique and different that will make you stand out from the crowd. A clear vision and a network of friends and family off whom you can bounce ideas off and who will keep you sane when you’re doing 14 hrs days and can only dream of weekends… because that is what it will take – you have to be dedicated to what you are doing so you better choose something you love extremely much.

HOP: What three things could you not live without

EC: 1) my loved ones (partner, friends + family), 2) my kick of sourcing amazing/iconic/ rare mid century pieces 3) my morning swim

Forest London, 115 Clerkenwell Rd  London EC1R 5BY

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