Every week, we shine a spotlight on the best small brands we think are worth shouting about. We love our great British high street, but there are so many fantastic independent brands out there making clothes, accessories, homeware and more from a place of passion and love and we need to support them – now more than ever.
From fashion and beauty to homeware, accessories and food, we bring you the best small businesses you need on your radar. This week, we chat with Sandra Verstraten, co-owner of Twiin, ‘the UK’s first sunshine concept store’.
How did Twiin come to life?
Twiin started at a time when people were saying that physical retail was dead and we really didn’t believe that. We wanted to create a space where people could come and interact with products, have fun and just feel great. Twiin is a ‘sunshine concept store’, it’s all about twinning London with sunny destinations from all over the world – we want our customers to walk through the door and feel those positive, sunny vibes that these countries have; to create a golden state of mind. It’s about collaboration, positivity, happiness – as we say, ‘dreamed in the sun, loved in the rain’.
What three words sum up Twiin Store?
Joyful, adventurous, warm.
Who is Twiin Store for?
Twiin is for everyone who needs a little bit of joy in their life. We’re really proud to have created an amazing community of shoppers who gel with our concept. The truth is, everyone loves a little bit of sunshine in their lives.
How do you curate the selection of brands you stock in the store and online?
We’re very focused on curating purposeful brands. We’re incredibly proud to feature a wide variety of brands that are POC, API, Queer and women owned, brands that focus on sustainability and inclusivity. We also love stocking brands that customers might not have heard of yet and putting them alongside familiar favourites.
What’s a typical day for you?
Twiin is a small family owned business so no day is typical. The team is small so we’re constantly dipping in and out of everything. Cleaning the floors, spacing rails, picking new stock, packing online orders – it’s all go every day and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
What’s the best thing about running your own business? And the most challenging?
We’re in Coal Drops Yard which we count as one of the hidden gems of London; often we have very quiet days, especially when the weather is being very British! We’re always trying to think of ways in which we can entice customers to come and visit us which is why we launched our website in 2020 so people can get a dose of that Twiin dopamine without even leaving their house.
The best moment so far?
Our amazing customers, we wouldn’t have come this far without them. The connections our staff have made with them is really special, being part of the special moments in people’s lives is incredibly rewarding.
Which product is your current favourite?
Tiggy by Cuddington is a fabulous new brand we have in store – really special ethically sourced leather bags that are all crafted by hand in Australia. My favourite is the Daisy Chain Mini Hobo, it’s one of those pieces that I’ll keep forever and be able to hand down to my daughter.
Another favourite is definitely We Are Feel Good Inc, a sunscreen that’s kind to the skin and the planet. As much as we love the sunshine, you have to protect yourself from those rays.
Anything exciting in the pipeline?
We’re really excited to be celebrating our fourth birthday this November with lots of incredible new brands launching for the upcoming season.