December Shop of the Month
Since 2002, MENDO has provided Amsterdam citizens and visitors alike with a smattering of beautiful books from around the world, each celebrating visual culture. The self-described “candy shop for book aficionados” was founded by designers Roy Rietstap, Joeri Worm, and Joost Albronda, and the effect of their design-led ethos is clear both in their award-winning webshop and in their store on Amsterdam’s historic Berenstraat. We spoke with the co-founders to learn more about the intimate book-lover’s oasis in the Dutch capital.
When did all start ?
We started MENDO back in 2003, as a bookstore-slash-gallery. It wasn’t take long before we found out that we fancied books far more than we did art and so we decided to focus on books. Not novels, but visually inspiring books on photography, fashion, interior, graphic design, traveling, food, and lifestyle.
What was the reason behind opening the store?
We are graphic designers from origin, and we were always searching for inspiration, but satisfying our needs wasn't easy. So we built ourselves MENDO: a bookstore full of visual beauty and inspiration.
Could you describe the neighborhood in which the store is located?
You'll find MENDO in what is known as 9 Streets in Amsterdam. These are nine little streets with boutique stores, bars, and restaurants. Although the area has become very popular over the last couple of years—and you won't hear us say that this has happened since or because we are stationed here—these streets aren't mainstream shopping streets. The limited floorspace make these shops unsuitable for large retailers, therefore these streets will always have a small-scale, cozy feel to them.
Please describe the kinds of books and other merchandise that you carry. What do you offer your customers?
As we said, we offer books on fashion, photography, interior, food, traveling, graphic design and lifestyle. We like to think we're good at curating books. From the thousands and thousands of books that are being published each year, we only select titles that we think are worthwhile. We're known for the large number of limited editions we have on display. There are not many places in which you could browse LaChapelle, Leibovitz, The Rat Pack, GOAT, The Rolling Stones, and Before They Pass Away.
What are your favorite Gestalten books?
What are your customers’ favorite Gestalten books?
It completely depends on the customer. Not everyone likes The Ride, but if you're into custom bikes it's most likely your favorite Gestalten publication. But I must say they all do pretty well.
Who might be seen visiting the store? What kinds of people shop there?
When we first started our store, we never could have imagined that we would attract such a diversity of people. We really like the fact that so many young people are interested in books and we're excited to see that the love and appreciation for books is growing by the day.
Do you do anything at your store besides sell books? Do you, for example, have any events or exhibitions there?
We do the occasional book-signing session and we're planning to do more specialized events such as small seminars.
Is there anything else about the store that you'd like us to mention?
We're graphic designers and we've ran a bookstore for more than 13 years now. Now, we hope to combine the best of both by initiating and creating our own publications—that's very exciting.