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25 Years of Indish Design Shop

A staple of their north London high street for over 25 years, Indish Design Shop is closing its shop doors for good at the end of May. Looking back at the shop’s legacy, boutique co-owner Melanie Silgardo joined us to chat through the brands, trends and hero products that have shaped the shop floor over the years.

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Don’t miss your last chance to shop unique pieces curated by one of Trouva's very first independent boutiques.

Trends Through the Years

Since its launch in 1996, Indish Design Shop has brought curated and considered design to London’s Crouch End. Boutique owners Kasha Dalal and Melanie Silgardo both changed their career path from publishing to retail, and have been bringing together an exciting and eclectic collection of brands for the home ever since. Each piece is carefully hand-selected with one philosophy in mind: “If it's useful, it must be beautiful; if it can be both, that's perfection.”

“We’re going to miss the sourcing and curation of new products, and the buzz we get from finding something special that is a perfect fit.”

Which current trend have you seen the first time around?

“When you are around for a couple of decades you see cycles. We’ve been through ‘chuck out the chintz’ trend, and then brought it all back. Trends come and go. In the late ‘90s early ‘00s we saw a trend for flamboyant brands like Kartell, Magis, Flos that always pushed the boundaries of design. Ron Arad’s Bookworm bookshelf and Phillipe Starck’s Louis Ghost chair being fine examples.”

"Our catchphrase has always been ‘Good design lasts longer,’ and we have witnessed it."

“We’ve seen the rise and rise of Scandinavian minimalism – simple, timeless, influenced by the seasons and rooted in the Nordic landscape, with brands like Iittala, HAY and Ferm Living at the forefront."

Which brands have you consistently sold over the years, and what do you think makes them so special?

“If there is one brand that is closest to us – emotionally and aesthetically – it is the finnish brand Marimekko. It’s vibrant and colourful and fulfilled our love of textiles and ceramics. Also a big shoutout for all the women-led businesses which have been a complete joy to represent – Donna Wilson, Margo Selby, Sophie Home, and Sue Pryke to name a few.”

The Story of Indish Design Shop

“A love of beautiful and useful things has always been at the heart of Indish. Both of us were born and grew up in India which gave us our love of colour, pattern and mixing things up.”

How and why did Indish begin?

“When we started, the plan was to have our own exclusive designs - textiles designed and hand-woven for us in the south of India. We flew to Chennai in the hot month of March 1996 – on a wing and a prayer. There we met the most delightful couple who ran a small and ethical business in the centre of Chennai. Gorgeous linen tablecloths, duvet covers, placemats, bathmats and voile curtains (muslin was trendy in the late '90s) were produced for us on small handlooms produced. The rest is history.”

“Our top 3 tips to run a successful independent business? Know your market. Turnover is more important than margins. Love what you do!”

How has your neighbourhood changed in that time?

“Crouch End was a little sleepy neighbourhood in 1996. Not many people beyond the north London environs had heard of it. Since then, chain coffee shops have been and gone, though there are a plethora of good small independent coffee shops still buzzing.”

Why are you choosing the shut up shop after 25 years?

“Because you know when it’s time to stop and smell the roses. We’ve also had two big events in the near past – Brexit and Covid - that have changed the course of many lives and businesses. It felt like a good time to stop and re-evaluate. It seemed like a good time to exit on our own terms and appreciate that we were lucky to be able to do so. Life will go on with new and different pleasures – we hope.”

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