Earl of East London started as a joint creative outlet in 2014, by Paul Firmin and Niko Dafkos who began trading at their local artisan market in Hackney. They curated a collection of candles, cacti, and curiosities, and overtime learned what their customers responded to, allowing Paul and Niko to optimize their offering. The market stall became a regular fixture, and in 2015 Paul and Niko opened a shop in a converted shipping container in Netil Market. As well as managing the market stall the partners attended workshops and classes, including perfume courses, and explored candle-making resulting in their own branded fragrance line, Earl of East. Their candles are handmade and poured in small batches in their East London studio, which is ideally located around the corner from the Earl of East London shop. Paul and Niko collaborate with other artisans, and alongside their brand offer a curated selection of ceramics and leather goods. They love interacting with their customers, discussing their product, sharing how each item is developed or discovered. They love teaching the candle making process, and offer workshops in their studio and with partner retailers.
Paul Firmin and Niko Dafkos both have full time jobs in media. They developed the Earl of East London brand with a feel-good attitude in mind, wanting it to be accessible and inclusive. The brand is built around four main elements – create, curate, collaborate, and community. They love working with others and sharing their knowledge and experience. They are inspired by travel, exploring new cities, cultures, and cuisines, and through daily encounters with customers, colleagues, friends, and family. They are both fans of every other independent shop, they appreciate all the effort and love owners put into their stores, and have an obsession with Aesop stores. They are in the process of expanding their own line of branded goods, and would love to open more shops in shipping containers in their favourite cities around the world.
On the Future of Retail
“Retail is already and will become more and more about experience / retail theatre. Whoever manages to offer customers the right environment to shop in will succeed. It’s basically a never ending job …”
13 -23 Westgate Street, London, UK