25 years on… the Archway gift shop that gives artists a platform
23 March, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
Owners Ian Morris and Kathryn Phalp: ‘You have to be a part of the community. You can’t just sit back’
AN independent shop in Archway is celebrating 25 years of selling personalised gifts and creating colourful window displays.
Map Gift Shop, in Junction Road, was founded by textile designers Ian Morris and Kathryn Phalp, 51, who met at university in 1986.
They opened a studio in Archway when rents were much cheaper, Mr Morris said, and eventually turned their hand to selling bespoke presents, such as jewellery and clothes.
Mr Morris, 59, said he had seen the area change over the past two decades. Trading could be tough, he added. “But I think if you work hard enough and adapt it will be fine. We keep our social media going. We have a loyalty card.
“You can’t treat it as a 9am to 5pm existence anymore. You need to get out there and really push yourselves.
“It’s important when you are a local business, especially independent, that you have to be a part of the community too. You have to take part. You can’t just sit back.”
The pink shop, at the junction with St John’s Grove, is known for its bright themed window displays, and for giving budding artists the first platform for their work.
And their work has even come full circle, as Mr Morris, who lives in Stroud Green, explained: “Years ago I painted a plate for a new-born child and 18 years later the girl is now working here on her gap year before university.
“The best part of the shop are the customers. It’s a great way of building friendships, and meeting people from all walks of life.”