O’Dell’s, a menswear and lifestyle goods shop in Shoreditch opened in 2014. The proprietor, Tom O’Dell, fills the shop with product he would wear, use, have in his home, or gift. Fittingly he used his own name for the shop. A name that he says is neither invented nor too trendy, but that has a nice quality to it that fits perfectly with the shop. From knocking down walls, to painting and tiling the floor, Tom designed and executed all the work in the space himself, with the help of carpenter Claire Darwent. Most of the goods are handmade, mainly sourced from makers and designers in the UK. O’Dell’s knitwear collection, designed by Tom and made in Scotland, is amongst his best sellers. As well as the O’Dell’s shop in Shoreditch there are O’Dell’s concessions in Daily Goods, Camberwell and in the Bethnall Green Town Hall Hotel.
Tom O’Dell believes that good service and old-fashioned retail experience are central to his success. He started working in a shop when he was 14. He loved that the staff wore flowers in their lapels, had tea breaks, a hand written customer locality book, no till, and were knowledgeable about the product they were selling. Tom has also held various roles with menswear brands that include marketing, public relations, ecommerce, and styling. Before opening O’Dell’s he would spend his Saturdays sitting outside one of his favourite shops, General Store in Peckham, and his friends’ coffee stall, Craft Coffee, wishing he had his own shop. Now that he has realized his dream he enjoys cycling to work to spend his days in O’Dell’s chatting to his customers. Tom loves going to markets, which he finds very inspiring. On a recent trip to Chang Mai, Thailand Tom discovered some shops to add to his favourites, a barbers, a coffee shop and a vintage shop, all which impressed him with their brilliant attention to detail and excellent service.
On the Future of Retail
“The Internet is a huge part of retail now but I know lots of people who have never purchased anything online. The shopkeeper will always be in your local town. You can talk about the weather with the shopkeeper, have their opinion on something and obviously buy something from the shopkeeper there and then. Retailers just need to be original, work extra hard and not do it to make a quick buck.”
24 Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch London