What I Know About Style

RS Currie

R.S.Currie & Co

January
22

Riva Tez, 20, and Tom Russell, 21, on how they created their kids’ emporium with a little help from their family

What made you decide to have a toy shop?

Riva: We used to live upstairs and decided to sell masks to kids during the last Notting Hill Carnival, which is how the idea came about. We spent two months putting our business plan together and going through the figures. We didn’t sleep for two days while the builders put the shop in place and the whole family got involved with decorating it over two days.
Tom: We wanted to sell things that we played with as kids as well as toys our parents played with. We chose to stay away from computer games, so we stick to creative and educational toys such as ones from the Science Museum.

Were there any hiccups during the opening?

Riva: Music was the last thing we thought about, so I put my iPod on, which had completely inappropriate music for kids.
Tom: We now play the likes of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, which the kids love.

Who is RS Currie?

Riva: We don’t know who he was, but he was the partner of Tom’s great-granddad. The shop R.S.Currie & Co actually stood on this spot from the early 1900s right up to 1979, and was a long-serving sports car showroom for the local community which belonged to Tom’s great-granddad and grandfather respectively. We restored the shop to how it originally looked from photos we have from Tom’s grandma.
Tom: My granddad was a real character. He drove from Horsham to here every day for 40 years.

You look pretty young to be running a toy shop…

Riva: I’m still studying Philosophy at UCL, so I’ll often be sitting in the shop reading and our Steiff bear in the window has a few of my books to read.

What’s your star attraction?

Riva: I’m a huge fan of Steiff bears and we’re lucky that we’re the only stockist in London to have a Steiff bear designed (and in the image of) Karl Lagerfield [£950]. It comes with a Karl Lagerfield-signed sketch and only 2,500 were made.
Tom: Our miniature Chesterfield (in the window) is pretty cool.

What’s your bestseller?

Tom: We’ve currently sold out of the ’70s space hoppers. Our pranks, gags and sweets are also popular.
Riva: We have one regular customer who is trying to give up cigarettes, so he comes in for toffee bonbons.

What’s next?

We’re expanding into the rest of our 1,200sqft space, building a giant indoor secret house at the back of our shop for children’s parties, as well as a launching a kids’ club – it’ll be a real kids’ emporium!

R.S.Currie & Co, 105 Westbourne Grove, London, W2; www.rscurrie.com; 020 7792 2236

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