Opened at the beginning of March, only-women store Pam Pam has been a sensation. This well-curated sneakers- and clothing retail spot was created with the intention to fill a void in the market for a premium women’s store, offering a top tier selection of sneakers, sought after clothing labels, and a collection of carefully curated artisan products. Moreover, the space also provides yoga and meditation classes, creative workshops and women’s cycling and running groups. Founders Bethany Heggarty and Rio Holland have both worked for independents within the design, buying and retail industries. The two were working in a menswear store and found women of all ages looking for men's clothes and footwear in their sizes. This way, the idea of Pam Pam was born. Rio explains in this interview, among other insights, further details about how to successfully launch a project by the right brand selection. Interview by Lorenzo Molina

Why did you open up your store?
We had both always thought we'd work for ourselves in some capacity, doing something creative.  And when we met, both having worked for independents within the design, buying and retail industries, the planets seemed to align and we quite quickly came up with and developed the idea of Pam Pam. At the time, we were working in a menswear store and found women of all ages looking for men's clothes and footwear in their sizes. As well as seeing this demand first hand, we personally felt the lack of brilliant women's stores in our life and, in particular, a lack of availability of women's sneakers.
View of the store's inside
View of the store's inside

What are your current bestselling labels? Which are your personal favorite brands?
A brilliant brand selection is what our store is all about, we spent much time looking at brands and curating the collection, so it’s really difficult to pick a favourite - and it depends on the day, the mood and the weather! Rio is definitely the sneaker connoisseur, and I’m particularly interested in the lifestyle offering, both with a shared love of the clothing we’re stocking. The brands appeal to a variety of women, who don’t necessarily have a single, set style and so our selection reflects this - with great denim, clean suiting, amazing casual-wear and street-wear, a lifestyle offering and of course what we hope is the best and most comprehensive selection of women’s only sneakers around. We already have a brilliant and supportive customer base after just four weeks of trade, with all the brands selling incredibly well. Most of the brands we stock are available elsewhere, but not in such a setting. From the very beginning our aim was to create a store where women feel comfortable in their own choice of style -  and with the positive reaction we’ve had, it seems Pam Pam was definitely a long time coming at a lot of women.

Do customers search for favorite brands and special styles or do they buy spontaneously?
It’s quite a nice mix of specific and spontaneous. There are women out there who come in specifically for Adidas Superstars, or are die hard Saucony or Reebok Classic wearers, but then others walk out the door with shoes they didn’t even know they wanted. And, some of the brands we stock, such as Novesta and Garment Project which are fairly difficult to find are whole new discoveries for some, which is great.

Where do you order your products?
We order our products straight from the brands, through their agents and direct from the makers themselves. With the clothing and the artisan lifestyle products, we have sourced from all different parts of the world as well as locally. For example, the vegan friendly beauty label, Herbivore Botanicals was born and bred in Seattle, the beautiful Bunad Blankets are from Denmark and the amazing woven textile by Vija Rhodes who lives and works here in London.

Adidas, Reebok and Novesta are some of the stocked brands
Adidas, Reebok and Novesta are some of the stocked brands
What inspires you, where do you get your information about upcoming trends?
Working and living in east London, it’s difficult not to be inspired every day on your journey to work. We’re not particularly trend orientated and are instead interested in well made product, interesting materials, wear-ability and just feeling and looking good.

Are there any new brands which you have ordered for the first time now?
We have a number of new and exclusive brands. To mention a few - the locally designed denim label, Bethnals, another London based brand, Welcome, offers youthful mix of pieces.

What do you think will be the key-pieces/trends in fall/winter 2015-16?
For AW15, We’ve gone for neutral tones on the clothing front and focused on great outerwear (which can be difficult to find), knit-wear and sweats. A brand we will be introducing next season is fairly young Swedish brand Feldt, offering a really well made collection focusing on a limited colour palate and beautiful fabrics. In the winter months when clothing can be a bit more reserved, we’re introducing some stand out shoes across most of the sneaker brands, with flashes of metallic, beautiful weaves and some brilliant colour ways.

How do you stay in contact with your regular customers?
We are currently working on our website which should launch very soon and are always building on our social media. Our strongest point of contact is Instagram. Beth is a photographer and we’re both visual people, so we really enjoy the platform. We find it’s a very effective, short and sweet way of getting news and stories across to people.
We will be sending out a newsletter and also plan to have a blog on our website which will feature news, new products and interesting culture pieces on a variety of subjects.

Pam Pam also sells carefully curated artisan products
Pam Pam also sells carefully curated artisan products
What do you like about your location and your customers?
East London feels very much like home. If you’re a creative and into your fashion, then this is the place to be. There is definitely a sense of being able to explore and push the boundaries a bit more when it comes to style. We’re situated on Bethnal Green Rd, with Slam City just across the road, and Redchurch Street just around the corner, which has residents such as A.P.C., Aesop and Le Labo. Both Beth and I have worked in the East previously and knew this would be the perfect place to set up pam pam. The products we sell and our lifestyle aspect along with our vibe in general, seems to go down well here.

Do you have an online shop? Do you run any social media activities?
We are currently working on our online shop, which will be up and running in April. Beth and I did most of the fit-out of the physical store ourselves, and so we concentrated on getting that right first. Through our social media, we’ve already found a lot of fellow creatives with an interest in health, fitness and well-being, and so will continue to reach out on facebook, twitter and instagram. We’ll soon start hosting running and cycling groups and holding yoga and meditation classes  - we want to appeal to women on more than just a retail level.

Is there a role model for your shop? Any store – worldwide – which inspires you?
To be honest, our inspiration came from all over the place, books, blogs, film, many years working in retail spaces (good and bad), but mainly from the genuine lack of a store like Pam Pam in our lives (personally). So, a great deal of our inspiration came from looking into the way we both personally like to live and what we choose to surround ourselves with. Our inspiration came from quite domestic spaces and feelings - outdoor, calm, eclectic, comfortable, west coast living was a definite inspiration.  Architecture and design publications/files/blogs informed us a great deal - we wanted to create a positive, open space where our product could speak for itself.

Pam Pam
129 Bethnal Green Rd
London E2 7DG
Reino Unido