Haekels have officially opened up shop in London. Offering seaweed-infused community-centred skincare, their new store on Broadway Market will bring a little slice of Margate life to the capital.

In true Haekels style, this is no conventional retail set-up. Dom Bridges, the founder, does, he says, “love shops… but shops that mean something, shops that give experience, shops that are valid and with purpose.”

“People feel that and it is why people connect with us. Our souls are in the walls and I believe people pick up on that; we’re a very honest brand that genuinely likes people. Broadway Market was attractive to us because it felt like home. It has a heritage that we are investigating and will make ourselves part of – we are not here to do a pop up and piggy back on other cosmetic brands in the area, we want to form a different link.”

In this new London location, he continues, “We don’t have the luxury of walking off the beach and into the store with the seaweed.” (Although they are, very excitingly, currently in the process of buying a boat to sail seaweed straight from Margate up the canal into London.) “So, I wanted the shop to represent that somehow, to make something itself. So, we are cultivating spirulina in-store which we will give out to anyone; customers and all our residents homed and homeless."

As well as freshly cultivated spirulina on tap, there will also be a treatment room for thalassotherapy and a venue space for talks held by their Bio-Designer, Jess Gregory.

For those (us) who don’t know what a bio-designer is, Bridges explains that they decided to call Gregory that as she is an expert in “bio circular economics, working on true systems of production that leave no trace; an expert in materials and design systems that actively give back to our planet’s ecosystem. The planet is dying and we all need to find different ways of being.”

This is at the core of what Haekels is attempting to do: linking the local with the global by encouraging people to form connections with each other and the environment they share.

They are currently in negotiations about a potential site for a sauna and are planning a community ice-bath (one for the Wim Hof enthusiasts). “It would,” says Bridges, “be a great addition to the capital. These public wellness spaces really create communion and a sense of unity to users - people need somewhere to experience an immediate release from the stress of city life.”

Although Haeckles may not “have the money to blast what we are doing across the universe,” Bridges does believe that “we will do it our way by simply being the most valid skincare company there is.”

Haekels is located at Junos Place, 16 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 4QJ.

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