Food & Drink

London fishmonger’s journey from Selfridges to shop owner

A south west London fishmonger has been on a full circle journey which has seen him go from managing a Selfridges fish concession to owning it along with two other shops. 

Fishmonger and owner of Life of Fish David Palmer took on ownership of the fish concession in the Selfridges food hall in Oxford Street this January, having previously managed it in 2020 before the COVID pandemic hit the UK.

This comes after he started his own business during lockdown selling sustainably caught fish and opened two shops in south west London

Palmer, who lives in Crystal Palace, said: “I really enjoyed every part of working at Selfridges while I was there and I always just thought it was an amazing place.

“So when I got the call from Selfridges offering me this opportunity it was a bit of a surreal moment.

“I have always had this determination to own my own business so it does not really get much better than this.”

Palmer started Life Of Fish during the pandemic by selling fish outside of his local cafe in Tooting where he used to live. 

Within a month the business grew, and Palmer started to do up to 100 deliveries a day on a moped.

Palmer said: “It was about 18 hour days when I was doing that. To be honest, I do not know how I did it.

“I just thought to myself that I could probably turn this into something.

“Plus the first time I did the pop-up stall outside the cafe I actually used my rent money to buy the fish to then sell, so I just had to make it work.”

Palmer has been working with fish for more than 15 years.

Palmer opened a shop in Tooting in August 2020, and a second shop followed in Clapham the next year. 

He explained that the community in south west London has been very supportive towards his business.

Palmer said: “From day one the support has been there. I think people saw that week in week out I was making sure that they had good quality fish, which is something that can be difficult to get hold of.

“My partner Ruth started helping me with invoices and with the customers, and doing all the branding for the shops.

“I think that once people saw that it was a team effort by local people they really got behind us.”

Image credits: David Palmer

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