Nestled in the bustling hub of East London is AIDA Shoreditch. The multi-concept store is a reflection of its vibrant surroundings, with a wide scope of design-led goodies available inside.
It may come as a surprise that the multifaceted AIDA is actually a family business. The store came about after four sisters (all lucky enough to share the same creative eye) united forces to create a ‘space where the experience is valued as highly as the collections’.
Speaking of the homegrown beginnings of AIDA, Helena Chow (1/4th of the sisterhood) explained: ‘AIDA is a family business. The space itself started as a warehouse for the family footwear business and as Shoreditch evolved the store has too. Over seven years, AIDA has been through a variety of changes - finding more of a focus on Scandi style, with a wide range of innovative and sustainable brands coming through from Europe.’
Despite the Scandi-centric focus, it’s unlikely AIDA will up-sticks anytime soon. In fact, the team credit their E1 postcode as a main design influence.
‘London, particularly Shoreditch itself is inspiring,’ Helena explains. ‘It is a city full of spark, new ideas and has an energy which is contagious. Although we travel to trade shows and keep our eye on the latest trends, we spend most of our time in the store.’
At the very core of AIDA is family. Speaking of her brand principles, Helena adds: ‘Never forget why you started. The ‘why’ for me was family and community. I was excited to embark on this journey with my sisters, to have the opportunity to grow our family business, and to create a concept store with a deep sense of community.’
Another value for AIDA is to remain environmentally responsible. ‘ We are working with many brands who are starting to introduce more and more organic cotton, recycled materials and sustainable practises into their collections each season,’ Helena explains. ‘We have always endorsed looking after garments for more than a season and buying responsibly.’
Running an independent business has been full of lessons for the AIDA sisters, who have managed to remain reactive to the ever changing retail climate ‘The retail industry has been a tough one especially for independents. With so many store closures in the UK we think remaining relevant in such a changing landscape is something to celebrate.’
Explaining how she keeps momentum going during the rough and the smooth, Helena confesses: ‘It’s hard to strike a balance, especially when you have your own business. I have to constantly remind myself that if I’m in a good headspace, I can bring that to the team and the store.’
‘I make sure every day that I make time for the things and people that I love. The things that keep me sane! Whether that’s 10 minutes of meditation, a morning yoga session, a phone call to my mum, or a night in with friends and a big glass of wine!’
Visit AIDA Shoreditch at: 5133 Shoreditch High Street | London | E1 6JE
Follow along: @aidashoreditch