In the frantic Mongkok (Hong Kong) shopping district on the fourth floor of an unmarked and run-down building hides a small, beautifully curated and worldly inspired concept store named Storerooms.
In this edition of the Design Purveyor we caught up with Lee Eden, Storerooms owner and founder to hear his journey - from leaving school at 16 to collect beautiful items, to moving away from home to become a fashion buyer, and then creating a boutique concept store in a city where unique is uncommon.
How would you describe creativity?
Ideas that can be shared with everyone/anyone, and it make their life better. It’s about pushing forward human civilization.
Where do you find your creativity as a designer?
From nature, feeling it and thinking about how it is made.
You have created your own fashion label? Can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I created that during last season FW15. Actually it was a hard work in Hong Kong, as you see chain brands has everywhere now, especially in this mini city. This problem was very horrible. I guess local brands and boutiques only have 10-20% in HK now – the other 80% are large chain brands, so everything looks like a copy from the same model now. That's why we created our own label – to make some unique and high quality clothing. We are trying to back to initial.
You left school at 16 years old to start your own furniture import business. Now, you are a successful business owner at the very young age of 26! Tell us a little about what have done since leaving school.
Yes, actually I left my school at the age of 16 and studied graphic design. I worked a part-time job during the year of 16 – 18 as my father is antique collector - it influenced me a lot. I love collecting. At the beginning I tried to collect many vintage things from around the world like polaroids, bags, and furniture. I would then sell them. It was after this that I created the "storerooms" Facebook page in 2011. This page attracted a local brand called "Initial Fashion" and they called me in for an interview. They know I had a good sense for beautiful things. I then became a professional buyer at 22 years old. I collected beautiful things from around the world for their shops, and then they appointed me to Shanghai for their food and wine business. I also worked for buying, furniture design etc during this period.
What inspired you to open a design store?
In 2013, my Facebook page was getting popular on internet. I felt that thet city of HK was dying - everything looked so boring.
I didnt have much budget at that time, and shop rentals in HK are the most expensive in the world. So I found an old building with an upstairs place available in Mongkok. I started my new life and new design shop concept in HK.
What sort of products do you select for your design store and why?
From nature, feeling it and thinking how it made.
I like to collect things and give them a second life.
I hope to remind people the importance of balance between city and nature.
I try to inspire people to admire all beautiful things in life.
Your small store is hidden away on the 4th floor of building in the frantic streets of Mongkok. Most people wouldn’t even know it is there. What is it about your store that is unique to the others in Hong Kong? How has it become so popular?
If you visit our store you will see that the location (Mongkok) is Inconceivable.
The store has no signage on the street – it’s hidden in an old building in the most frantic streets of Mongkok. We sell unique things - its like treasure game, and everyone is the hunters. I hope they find us. People love to be hunters – that’s why Storerooms has become so popular. Actually i think everyone loves beautiful things and something special in this city – that’s why.
You and your wife recently had a baby boy. Outside of family, what are your passions in life?
ummm...knowledge. I just want to know more and more interesting knowledge in my short life - so I started collecting things, it allowed me to learn a lot.
For example, even though I'm not professional perfume maker, I can import it, smell it, select it and remake it. Even though I'm not professional designer, I can get to know many concepts from the designer's product. I love my character - I'm nothing and I can touch anything what i like.
What’s next for Storerooms?
Our new shop just opened in last week – it’s a concept that is a bit like gallery space/ cafe.
We will hold some pop-up stores here and serve coffee and dessert.
There is one rule in this place… keep quiet. Mongkok is the most noisy place in the world! We want to create a place that is totally separate from this city - to let people can take a rest, have a coffee and dessert, and enjoy themselves.
That is what Hongkongers need. Also it's for our customers to have a good time after shopping upstairs at our Design Store (Storerooms) :P
Storerooms No.1 : No.44 3/F Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mongkok Kowloon Hong Kong
Opening Hour Mon To Fri 4pm - 10pm | Sat To Sun 2pm - 10pm
Shop Tel: 2426 6789