Bunhill: Wong Sing Jones

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The Independent Online
AND TO finish, a happy story. Opening a shop called Wong Sing Jones in the depth of the recession in London's hard-hit Portobello Road looked like foolhardiness verging on commercial suicide, especially as WSJ specialises in foreign products chosen for 'cultural value and uniqueness'.

An initial suspicion of trendiness is confirmed by a list of the shop's best-sellers, which include those aluminium clamp-on lights pretentiously called New York Loft Lamps, and the new Vitamin C wonder EmergenC - the alleged favourite of super-model Cindy Crawford. The whole thing turns into farce with Carmex, a lip salve mixed by a nonagenarian in upstate New York according to a formula he first perfected in the 1930s Depression.

But do not mock. WSJ has flourished and is now opening a second branch. But then one of the partners in the emporium is Sophie Conran, daughter of the redoubtable Sir Terence, who has clearly inherited her father's flair for profitable trend-anticipation.