London’s East End is globally renowned for playing host to some of the world’s most stylishly eclectic fashion houses, art galleries and bars. But it’s the small gems you won’t necessarily hear about—unless you’re a local—that continue to fuel this reputation. Launched in 2010, Pelicans & Parrots is one such treasure. Nestled on Stoke Newington Road, just a short way from the beautiful chaos of Ridley Road Market, it’s a visual paradise, brimming with everything from vintage designer handbags through to antique leather armchairs. CH caught up with owners Ochuko Ojiri and Juliet Da Silva for a quick chat about antiques, aesthetics and avoiding the usual retail pitfalls.
How did the name come about?
We chose Pelicans & Parrots because we like the juxtaposition of the elegant parrot and the awkward—but beautiful—pelican.
You have such a variety of stuff spanning homewares to fashion. Where do you source your stock?
Our stock comes from all over the world. Our furniture and objects are a mixture of new and vintage and come from different antique fairs and markets across the UK and EU. Much of our newer pieces are from the US as well as other areas of Europe. All our clothes are vintage and about 80% are sourced in Italy.
Do you ever have trouble parting with great finds?
Hahaha! We often argue whether or not we want to sell an item! I’ve currently got a rather nice hunting jacket that I’m very reluctant to part with and I seem to recall Juliet carrying a pretty special YSL bag!
You bravely decided to launch a concept shop, Pelicans & Parrots Black, in the middle of a recession. Did you have anything else to fall back on if this hadn’t worked?
Being a pair of creatives in the middle of a recession we felt we had no choice but to try our own thing. We had nothing to fall back on, and bills to pay. I think we have been able to survive as we both come from a strong design and retail backgrounds. We decided early on to concentrate on creating a beautiful space filled with things that we love that also have heritage and longevity. We are constantly sourcing and putting our own twist on current trends and this is something we think sets us apart from every other store.
What are some of the challenges to owning and running Pelicans & Parrots?
Finding the money and convincing people that—although we do love them—there’s life beyond the Pound Shops. On the flipside, it’s a great and rare privilege to have one’s taste and indulgences validated. We also get to meet some fantastic characters!
Why did you choose this area?
After living in the area for many years we could see that Dalston had a fast-growing social scene and nightlife that had migrated from Shoreditch. But, there were no shops! We took great delight in being described as “Dalston’s first proper shop”. We basically created what we ourselves needed. We want both shops to create an aspired spectacle. Whether it’s our life-sized caged flamingo in our first shop or the anthropological chic we employ in P&P Black.
Aside from your own store, where would you recommend people go if they’re just visiting East London for a day?
Pelicans & Parrots
40 Stoke Newington Rd
Dalston, London, N16 7XJ
Tel. +44 20 3215 2083
Pelicans & Parrots Black
81 Stoke Newington Road
Dalston, London, N16 8AD.
Tel. +44 20 7249 9177