Monday, 23 June 2014

21 things you probably never knew about map gift shop

map gift shop are 21 this year!  To celebrate our birthday here are 21 random facts about us that you probably didn't know.

1. Ian and Kathryn met at Loughborough College of Art in 1983 

an early brainstorming session  -  it most definitely is  not  a lounging around on the floor watching "neighbours" and drinking Boddingtons session.

2. Before setting up MAP, Ian designed a Jacket for David Fielden eveningwear which was worn by Rachel Hunter

3.  Ian had a stall at Camden Market in it's hey day back in the 1980's, this photo in his fabulous 80's pomp features in Caitlin Davies book Camden Lock and the Market!  

4. Kathryn painted a backdrop of Judy Garland for a music video in the late 80's

5.  We were originally  M.A.P. our very first design range was picked up by Terence Conran at our first trade fair and went on to become our number 1 best selling iconic "sun"  range selling internationally in all the best stores.

Photo from Period Living October 1993

6.  We followed this range up with "Petits Mots" designed exclusively for The Conran Shop. 

"Petit Mots" China exclusively for The Conran Shop

It's interesting that after 20 years the feature from World of Interiors 1994, showing our range and the trend of Typography and Script at the time, could easily be from any current Interior Magazine in 2014!

*7. MAP collaborated with Liberty of London on a range to celebrate the re-opening of Shakespeare's Globe on Bankside in 1997 

8.  MAP's original home on Junction Road is now the fabulous La Belle Vie Flower Shop at 165, run by Sam and Sevgi.  We relocated to our current home number 93 in 2000.

9.   MAP started a Residents and Traders organisation in 1995 which preceded the current Archway Town Centre Management Group.  One of their early successes was to raise funds for Christmas lights for Archway - A now annual tradition that Islington have kept going.

10.   MAP launched a range of Toiletries in 1998 which proved hugely successful and featured on the cover Liberty's best Christmas gift guide in the same year.

11.  We have a green certification and are energy efficient. In 2012 we changed 60+ bulbs in our shop, helping to make Archway a Low Carbon Zone, saving 5.34 tonnes of CO2 and hopefully a few pounds too!

12.   Ian locked our old corner door for the last time on 5th April 2013 

13.  The beginning of a new era April 27th 2013 - with new map gift shop rebrand and brand new shop front and interior refurb.  We were the first shop to have been given a shopfront Grant from Islington Council.  We worked with local Architects Lyndon Goode.

14.  We have been approved by Disabled London for creating space and access to our shop for Disabled customers.

15.  Famous for our window displays - Ian worked with the Archway Town Centre Management Group on an initiative to promote visual merchandising and launched a competition for the most innovative window display in December 2013. Stagnells won the competition but our particular favourite was the Archway Sexual Health Clinic, with the tagline - "Santa has it covered! Have you?"

16.  Number 93 Junction Road used to be a butchers shop.

17. Natashia Bhatia our Islington Exhibits featured artist 2013 was shortlisted this year for the Royal Academy Summer Show!

18.  We recently lobbied Islington for much need cycle stands outside the shop.

19.  We have launched a range of products called Archway Branded - celebrating our special neighbourhood.

20.  Ian featured in the Kentishtowner Q & A last year.

21.  As a thank you to all our amazing customers over the years - many of whom have become great friends we are about to launch a brand new initiative - currently top secret.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

All mapped out

For the last 20 or so years - every now and then we get a puzzled stranger across our threshold asking if we sell maps!  Of course we understand why - but the explanation of why we are called map often fell on confused we decided to get in some maps so that we could answer "why yes - we certainly do!"  the next time we are asked. Here is our edit of the very best gift maps in store and online.

A brilliant gift idea for anyone moving to or visiting London, this fantastic London Soft City Map from Crumpled City will look uber-cool on your travels. No more struggling to fold back up your map or hiding it under your coat so it doesn't get wet & disintegrate!  They can be crumpled, squashed and crushed into a ball. What’s more, the more battered they are, the better they look.  This contemporary reinvention of the most basic travel tool, is easy to use, more fun and inspires more freedom than a traditional map.  They have a completely new look, from the street mappings to the colour scheme and include fresh and fun new city icons;  they provide details about a large part of the city, including streets, monuments, museums, art galleries and much more, our favourite feature is "Soulsights" which are unique places specifically chosen to move, touch and inspire the modern traveller.

The perfect gift for a London underground commuter.  Displaying every single station on the London Underground network the Tube map oyster wallet offers complete peace of mind when travelling around London.  The front face shows the central areas, and flip the wallet over to follow a journey into north or south London.

Your oyster card fits neatly into a specially designed pocket on the inside, and there are also transparent pockets for photo ID and any other cards.

While on the subject of the London Underground - we have a little piece of history instore too - with this little notebook showing the Underground Map prior to the 1939 extension and Highgate - Archway name change.

Never one to miss an opportunity to indulge in a little bit of history see below the shameful loss of the original "Highgate" station (designed by Leslie Green which opened on 22 June 1907 and was faced in Green's standard ox-blood glazed brick).  This was  destroyed when the Tower and surrounding "Mall" were built in 1963. 

This Scratch Map is brilliant! It's the perfect way to show off where you have been travelling while livening up your wall with a colourful world map. Based on the idea of the scratch card, you just scratch off the places you have been and bright colours will be revealed underneath. Scratch Map also includes facts about certain countries and cities. Fun for all the family.

Scratch Map is an amazingly high quality, uber-massive wall map, featuring a gold top foil layer. Why? Because you get a unique, slick looking gold wall map to start with, and then scratch off all the places you've visited to reveal a whole new world below, featuring colour and geographical detail. The result is a totally unique and personalised world map. What a great gift. Comes packaged in a tube, the ultimate in Travel gifts!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Thabto (Two Heads Are Better Than One) is a contemporary London based design studio producing a unique range of fun and original gifts, quirky accessories and design-led homewares.

After graduating in Product Design from Central Saint Martins, London in 2006, Thabto founders Steven and James collaborated on a number of design projects for various clients. They quickly realised that their like-minded approach to design and flow of creativity when working together was the perfect foundation for a partnership, leading the duo to design and develop their own range of quality, quirky and unusual products.
Our favourite product is the Subbuteo bottle opener and we aren't alone - it won a hattrick of awards in the gift of the year competition.  Best Gift for Men and Best Collectible Gift, and also the prestigious OVERALL GIFT OF THE YEAR 2014! 

So what market does James have in mind for his Subbuteo range? “I think it is really the Dad market - guys who used to play when they were young. In fact we’ve noticed that a lot of the 40-something and 50-something buyers who come to the stand looking a bit tired after traipsing round the show, get really enthusiastic when they see it and you can suddenly see a flash of their seven-year old selves,” 

OMG he's talking about Ian and I!  and that was exactly what happened when we came across the THABTO stand at the International Spring Fair in Birmingham this February.

Thabto's growing range of tongue in cheek products are now stocked by some of the worlds most respected retailers worldwide... (we are in good company!) And there are many more great products in the pipeline.