Eastern Biological is London's first independent natural history gift and concept lifestyle store.
Established in 2015, the owner's idea for the store came about through learning of a lack of independent natural history gift shops in his home city – this inspiring him to create not only his ideal space, but the first of its kind.
The story stems from living in Brighton as a student. Alf the owner, having attended the arts faculty, held the pipe-dream of one day owning a start-up, but at the time wasn't sure exactly what form it might take. Five years later – and settled into post-uni life in London – the day finally arrived when he felt ready to take the leap. Brainstorming with a friend in late-2013, their thoughts steered back to a compelling interest for nature and animals, love for adventure, and design shops. They spoke about discovering intriguing stores in different countries, outside of natural history museum gift shops, whereby these places were focused exclusively upon Darwinism.
So, a goal was set upon establishing the business: to create something inspired by the natural world and the curiosities that exist within it, but also, something modern that focused on aesthetic beauty. The distinct vision for the store being an amalgamation of an obsession in biology, with contemporary illustration and design.
The carefully curated selection of products contribute to a modern interpretation of a wunderkammer; a modern day 'curiosity shop'. Eastern Biological largely sells art prints, popular science books, educational toys, and gifts with emphasis on high quality design and functionality, meeting the needs for both urban and country wanderers – as well as selling unusual gifts and oddities, to satisfy the curious.
Turning over a new leaf, the online store was launched in January 2015, also hosting three successful pop-up shops throughout the year in east London on Redchurch Street, Columbia Road and London Fields. On February 12th 2017: Darwin Day, it was announced that their first bricks and mortar store would be opening on Hackney Road, with their doors officially opening to the public two weeks later.
After coming to the end of a five-year lease, Eastern Biological sadly closed its doors to the public on 28th August 2021.