We sit down with Paula Flynn who created theshopkeepers.com. It's literally an uber shop window for stunning one-off emporia around the world- that tiny fraction of places that are so beautiful just browsing in them fills you with inspiration. We talk retail, working with Orla Kiely and the future of online shopping...
1? Tell us about the story behind The Shopkeepers?
Throughout my career as a designer retail has being a common thread. A few years ago when I was working with Orla Kiely to open her NY flagship shop I became intrigued by the way shopping and retailing are evolving.? I have always been inspired by the moment when I walk into a truly beautiful shop so I started documenting a visual record of those shops that I could share.
2 What is your vision for the site?
When I started the site I decided that I would allow it to grow organically for a while, to learn what people visiting the site respond to the most. We are currently work on a redesign to be more mobile responsive, and indexing the shops by type and location. I would hope that people can use the site as a resource, whether they are thinking about opening a shop of their own, a platform to share ideas or as the content grows as a shopping guide to discover shops. I want the site to remain as visual as possible, and as the internet is wonderful for sharing we are excited to see we already have a global reach with followers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Argentina as well as the US and Europe.
Inspiration wall at Kai D, Brooklyn. www.theshopkeepers.com
3 Do you feel that stores can survive the onslaught of online retail?
Yes. Online retail has definitely changed the way we shop, and I am sure it will continue to grow. There are still people who love to visit shops, to wander and browse. Visiting shops is often the pastime of a tourist, someone who has the luxury of time to discover a new neighborhood. The Internet has extended the reach of every shop and has given the shopper access to a wider range of products so every shopkeeper that I meet views online shopping as a positive evolution.
4 What is your own background?
I studied printed textiles and fashion at NCAD, and have worked in design studios in Paris and New York, for companies including Chloe, Karl Lagerfeld, Gap, and American Eagle.? I had a children's wear company in Dublin, Triple Star, with a partner, for several years before moving back to NY. I worked with Orla Kiely a few years ago setting up her flagship shop in NY. I am currently a member of the Flint & Kent team, a design and product development consultancy.
5 What do you think is the future for ecommerce- how will it evolve?
I think ecommerce will continue to evolve. I like to imagine one click shopping in the future. The Internet will allow storage of our information, sizing, payment and shipping details. Some companies are starting to manufacture for a customers? specific body measurements using 3D printing technology.
Dorian Ward Trading Company, www.theshopkeepers.com.