It was a cold, windy afternoon as we headed up to Atomic Kitschen on Abbeydale Road to speak with Kevin Allen about his two businesses, Atomic Kitschen and Kaztec’s Supply and Design. We talked about his wonderful little shop, full of eco-friendly, wonderfully designed products, what inspired him to set up these two businesses, and what he looks for when deciding what products to sell. The answer we got was green, green, green.
What inspired you to set up Atomic Kitschen and Kaztec’s Supply and Design?
My background is in kitchen design, but I have always been interested in furniture design. I went from kitchen design to actually installing kitchens, because I went down my own route independently. From putting in kitchens, we started renovating people’s properties. Once we had renovated the properties, people would ask me, because they knew I was in to furniture, “Can you suggest something that we can put in?” and so I’d take a few ideas, go and source it and they’d go and buy it. So then I thought of the idea of opening up a showroom, doing something a bit different and interesting, and that’s what we are trying to do.
What is the difference between those two trading arms?
Kaztec Supply and Design is mainly designing rooms or taking walls out, giving people an idea of what they can buy, and the Atomic Kitschen part is the next step of, ‘What can I furnish my new dwelling with?’ Something funky, fresh, something people haven’t seen before. The retro stuff is very much still in vogue, so we try and incorporate a little bit of that as well. We want to try and stay independent and do what we want. If we like it, we put it in. If people like it, they buy it.
Abbeydale Road is becoming known as an up-and-coming area. What is your sense of this from a trader perspective?
Twenty businesses have opened since May, when I first looked at this place. One of the appeals of working here is lower rents and it is more up and coming. It is more independent up here. There is just that independent, alternative, ‘we are going to do it our way’ type of thing.
You have a lot of different ranges in the shop. Do you have a most popular range?
If you want to do something like this, go for green. People just seem to zoom into it really quickly. People love it, rather than something that’s been mass produced and coming from sources that aren’t sustainable.
Going back to the design and style kind of elements, what do you look for in a product?
It’s down to my taste and what I think is good. You go to these trade shows and people will try and persuade you to buy something, saying it’s going to be big and trendy, but if I don’t like it then I won’t buy it to have it in the shop. But really anything that is quirky or unique.
What’s the background story of the wonder bags?
In some places now, more remote places they haven’t got enough kindle to cook a meal, so this lady thought of the idea of using one of these bags. You just brown the meat and put the pot into the wonder bag and let it cook it for you without any more wood needed. It’s just something I had never seen before. It’s also trying to help stop people cutting trees down. Any bag that we or any other traders sell, a bag is given to a poor family.
What’s next for Atomic Kitschen?
Coming up, hopefully around spring time, we are hoping to launch some clothing, because we have been approached by quite a few local people who want to put their clothing in the store. I have some threadless shirts that I collect and a man came into the store the other day and he loved it and bought it. People have seen them and have wanted to share some of their designs, so we are going to get them in.
A man called James Projects is doing his own furniture. He’s designing his furniture with woods and all natural things. He’s going to bring a bit of that in as well.
I am looking for a local artist to design an Atomic Kitschen sign for the top of the shop, so if any local artists could get in touch that would be great.
Words: Hannah White
233 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FJ