It’s on Kingsland Road. It’s a ‘creative space’. Needless to say, the owner of One Good Deed Today has a beard. But Romain Camus is unashamed of the fact that he’s a bringer of gentrification, and in fact wears that badge proudly. ‘I see myself as part of gentrification, yes’, he says. ‘But I want to show that it’s more than just people moving into the city, it can also be about creating business and trying to give back as much as possible’.
Ethical retailer OGDT opened quietly a few months ago in a former office building that had been abandoned for some 15 years. In its new guise, it’s pleasing on the eye, complete with floors tiled in ice cream colours and geometric, shelfie-worthy displays. The space was designed in collaboration with hip London design studio Nice to be Nice.
The inspiration for the shop, Romain says, came from his 13-year stint in retail, including time in operations for brands including American Apparel and Opening Ceremony. ‘I just saw so much waste’, he says, ‘and felt that some of the companies I was working with were just money making machines. I wanted to create something different’. And the products here are different – you’ll find carefully sourced items here you’d be hard pushed to find elsewhere, and that Romain has discovered throughout his travels. Each brand has been subjected to extensive research, to ensure that they all meet his criteria: ethical and sustainable.
To minimise waste, products are bought in small quantities, and are non-seasonal – instead they’re more like aesthetically-pleasing basics that’ll see you through the years. There are home products: colourful bamboo toothbrushes by Brit brand BRSH Collective (£5.50), vegan detergents by Berlin-based company Walachai (£9.50 for a litre).
Then there’s clothing, including 100% organic cotton tees and undergarments by Swede label The White Briefs (from £22), hardwearing shoes and stylish rucksacks by France-designed, ethically-made-in-China company Faguo Bags (from £55). 5% of every sale made here goes to charity – currently Afghan youth project Skateistan, but the charities will rotate and reflect customers’ suggestions.
It’s not just the products that are different, though. ‘London lacks fun when it comes to retail’, Romain says – and he wants to challenge that. ODGT is meant to be a hangout – Romain is even planning to take the website down to encourage people to come in to the store rather than browse online (how’s that for analogue). The shop just obtained an alcohol licence a matter of weeks ago and its small garden will soon be housing a pop-up from local favourite Rita’s, who will be serving their famous margaritas there throughout the warmer months. ‘I want people to just feel they can come in, sit in the garden, have a drink’, says Romain.
If you’re feeling seriously like letting your hair down, a corner of the shop is even home to a small, soundproofed recording studio. But whether or not this shop inspires you to pull out a banjo, it’s clear you’ll find good vibes here.