Concept stores! I love concept stores! Especially when the concept involves cupcakes, tea, bracelets, clothes, and you can truly see the dedication and passion of the person behind it. And I love them even more when you find them by chance, just walking through the streets of a big and busy city, maybe getting lost, and then suddenly you step into a completely different world; the world someone has created and has decided to share with you.
So this is how it happened. When I was Amsterdam this summer I came across a very lovely and unique shop. Something I had never seen before, something I immediately fell in love with. It´s The Darling. As the "About us" on their page says this is a sugar-sweet shopping paradise in the middle of the busy Nine Streets is Amsterdam. Entering this shop evokes a "child entering a candy store" feeling, you really don´t know where to start or what to look at. It´s a magical combination of colourful accessories, cute knick-knacks, affordable brands and vintage, lovely furniture, mouth-watering cupcakes on two floors: shop downstairs, café upstairs. Behind every item and every detail, one can perceive the search for uniqueness this shop wants to sell to its customers, outclassing all mass production chains and mega stores. With limited budget at The Darling you can still find a one-off outfit.
Put all this together with a cupcake and you´ll have a lovely afternoon. The Darling Cupcake Café is a hangout where you can take a break enjoying a coffee, a tea or a fresh juice and savouring some sugar sweet cupcakes which are true works of art. Whilst sitting at the big coffee table upstairs you feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland, having a tea party with the Mad Hatter and all his pots and cups and sugar bowls. And if the weather is nice you might be lucky enough to get the table outside! Unfortunately the cupcakes and all other sweets cannot be sold online, but many other items can be found online on The Darling´s web shop here.
This lovely shop is also an inspiring place to celebrate. Wether it´s a party or a simple get together The Darling´s atmosphere makes it a perfect location. And to keep the concept of The Darling vibrating, the shop also hosts various workshops and events, such as beading, customising, knitting, and cupcake pimping. The idea of creating a space where fun, creativity, fashion, food, and sociality meet is brilliant. It´s so nice that I would like to live in Amsterdam just to be able to go to The Darling more often!
I cannot praise the idea and not mention the person who had it. So here´s to you Nadine! The proud owner of The Darling. Where and when to find her and her beautiful shop? Here:
1016 GK Amsterdam
Open on Monday from 1pm to 6pm,
Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 8pm,
and Sunday from 12am to 6pm.
Believe me this a place you want to go to when you are in Amsterdam. Forget about the touristic rubbish and go search for some real pearls. I loved The Darling because it is kept like a secret gem: if you find it amongst the side alleys of Amsterdam it will shine and make you happy you were there.