Because there’s no place quite like the Great British high street – from its niche independents, to seasonal Pop-Ups and those expansive yet elegant department stores – Because Magazine is on a mission to champion the bricks-and-mortar of London in all its glory. Each week, we’ll beeline to the rails of our favourite retailers to scope out the must-have pieces and in-store exclusives that are more than worth making an effort for. This week, we're at Earl of East in Hackney to find out more about the lifestyle brand and its platform. 

Founded by Paul Firmin and Niko Dafkos, Earl of East (formerly Bonds), is a self-proclaimed “multi-sensorial” lifestyle store – comprising candles, ceramics, leather goods and Japanese-inspired bathing essentials, created often in collaboration with a roster of creatives. 

Their Hackney space is the base for the brand’s craft of candle-making and teaching (they launched their own range of hand-poured, scented candles in 2015); a community hub, they host a wealth of workshops and events with top-notch coffee and conversation on tap.  

Following the success of their flagship store, in 2018 the brand set up their second space in Kings Cross… Watch this space! Intrigued, however, to learn about their Hackney roots and their take on the art of candle making, we took to Gransden Ave to get wind of three hero products from co-founder, Niko Dafkos.

What… The Onsen Range.

Because… We created two Japanese bathing line profiles. Onsen, which is a blend of peppermint eucalyptus, peppermint and mandarin, in Japanese is a ‘hot spring’, so we wanted to create something that would make you feel rejuvenated and uplifted in the same way you would feel after going to a spring. It comes in the soy wax candle, essential oil blend as well as a bath salt – and the other item we have on there is a sleep mist, which is a blend of frankincense, lavender and mandarin. We only launched this range in September during design junction last year and it has basically become our best-seller. Our other profile, Shinrin-Yoku, meaning ‘forest bathing’, is at the other end of the spectrum, it’s more earthy green. Interestingly in Hackney, Onsen is the best-seller, while at Kings Cross it’s Shinrin-Yoku. We are releasing a hand balm and a hand soap based on those two profiles, as well as a shower mist which I am most excited about.”

What… Paradise Row.

Because… The reason why we work with Nika is that she is the same as us: she designs in the neighbourhood and she is a friend of ours. Nika isn’t actually a designer by trade, she used to be a lawyer, but she chose to follow her passion. This bag is called Hope and it's part of her second collection, which is the Empathy collection. They are handmade  in Dalston, which is the London manufacturer for Italian vegetable-tanned leather. They are very popular – the face bags as I like to call them – actually have names like hope, love and sorrow. In Kings Cross, it's one of the items that everybody who comes through the door touches and it’s the same in this store... It’s almost like they speak to you!”

What… Ferm Living Medium Haze Tray.

Because… I have chosen this because Ferm Living is a lovely brand to work with; they are very supportive. Although they’re on the bigger end of our suppliers, they are still very personable and down to earth and not mass-produced which is nice. With everything – no matter where it’s made – if it's in Europe, China or India, they always make sure to use manufacturers that produce fairly. For the most part, it’s family-run businesses they work with so it sits within the essence and core of what we want to do. The Haze Tray in medium is just a nice item to use in your bathroom for your beauty items; it has that nice industrial finish and the chicken wire glass is quite nice because we have it in our window so it feels right at home. It's sophisticated and it can hold anything from paper, office supplies to candles.”

Support bricks-and-mortar: visit Earl of East's store at 5A Gransden Ave, London E8 3QA, or you can shop online via

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