Perhaps you’ll remember my recent day out in Brixton, where I had a fabulous time eating my way around Brixton Village and discovering the gorgeous lifestyle shop Omnis (where I bought the clutch bag featured in this post)?
I was so delighted when the charming and awe-inspiringly stylish owner of Omnis, Sophie Knight, sent me a sweet email to say thank you for mentioning her shop in my blog post and that she was glad I’d loved Omnis so much. I’d been so impressed by the beautifully curated collection of fashion and homeware items displayed in the shop, that I jumped at the opportunity to find out a little more about the history and ethos behind Omnis and asked Sophie if she’d mind being interviewed for a feature on Miranda’s Notebook. I was thrilled when she said yes! As you know, I love tracking down London’s best independent shops, cafes and restaurants, and my favourite part is getting to share them all with you, so I do hope you enjoy this feature.
Happily for me, the lovely photographer, blogger and Brixton-dweller, Siobhan, came along with me to take some pictures of the shop whilst I chatted to Sophie. Siobhan has really captured the shop perfectly, and it’s easy to see why Omnis, although only opened last December, is already such a big hit amongst Brixton locals. Below, I’ve summarized all that Sophie told me about herself and the shop:
The shop’s name, omnis, means ‘all and everything,’ and it truly does have a little of everything that will appeal to all. Sophie said she is a fan of the lifestyle industry, and her shop reflects this: walking into it is rather like having a 3D experience of your favourite lifestyle magazine or blog, surrounded as you are by all things beautiful and impeccably styled. Sophie told me that she started her career as a window stylist, working for several years for fashion institutions such as Ralph Lauren and Aquascutum. Her experience as a stylist is obvious in the beauty of her shop, where a minimalist white and grey setting allows the products to shine.
Omnis stocks a variety of cards, jewellery, cushions, ceramics, pretty accessories and household goods, as well as a selection of vintage clothing. Sophie takes pride in stocking independent designers, many of which are London based, and, when I visited, all but one were from the UK. It was clear from speaking to her, that supporting independent designers and creatives is a real passion for Sophie, and she loves scouring markets, trade fairs and Etsy to discover new products for the shop. Examples of some of the designers stocked are: This is Lullaby, Samantha Warren and Grease & Tin (you can see the full list here).
If you’re a fan of vintage clothing, then I’d definitely suggest popping by Omnis, as there’s a wonderful rail full of treasures from Sophie’s own vintage collection, as well as bits and pieces she’s found in her travels around London markets.
I always admire people who pursue their dream, and Sophie is a great example in successfully managing to set up her own shop. I was curious to ask her what she found were the pros and cons of working for herself and running her own business. Sophie said the number one thing she loves about being a shop owner is getting to meet new people, whether they are her customers or the designers she works with. She loves the buzz of the shop on a Saturday when Brixton is bustling and she gets to see plenty of customers, both old and new. Never being late, as in the end you’re the one who sets the opening hours, is also, according to Sophie, a huge plus of running your own business!
Lovely as it is to interact with lots of customers, Sophie said a con of the job is taking any negative remarks too personally. Feeling guilty over taking any time off is another problem, and one I can well relate too! Even though my blog is in no way my business, it’s easy to get sucked in to thinking I should always be doing more, especially as I do love it so much. Sometimes, though, you really do just need to take a day off!
When I asked Sophie about her future plans for Omnis, I was excited to hear she is intending to stock a wider range of items for men, as well as a selection of plants and flowers. Omnis is already a beautiful shop, but a selection of gorgeous plants will only make it more lovely.
I also think it’s a great idea to include more stock geared toward men. I’m always in despair when I try to find original gifts for the men in my life, but I have a feeling Sophie’s picks will solve a lot of my problems. I’m looking forward to dropping by the shop whenever I’m in the area, and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow and evolve.
Finally, I asked Sophie what her recommendations were for the best eats in Brixton. I was happy she mentioned the fabulous Salon, but she also told me about some places I haven’t been to and am now chomping at the bit to try out:
++ Rosie’s Deli Cafe for a comforting lunch after a big night out!
++ Fishwings & Tings for incredible Caribbean food.
++ Casa Morita for fresh, delicious Mexican dishes.
I had so much fun chatting with Sophie and hearing all about the story behind Omnis. She is such a lovely person and a real joy to talk to – I highly recommend looking out for her and saying hello if you’re ever in the shop!
Do you enjoy shopping in independent shops too? Which are your favourites? I’d love to know!
Photography by Siobhan Watts.