This series of blogs is about getting under the skin of Ashbourne’s high street and trying to understand what our retailers offer. Vintage Bluebird is a great example of a hidden gem. Many “gift shops” and soft furnishing outlets are either offering cheap tat or over-priced aspirational ornament. They are places that you may visit once in a blue moon and leave empty-handed more often than not. Good retail is about putting forward a meaningful proposition to your customers and Vintage Bluebird does that really well.
The shop is tucked away in Wellington Yard next to Chimes and accessible from Shawcroft. It offers the retail store but also sells online through http://www.vintagebluebird.co.uk/. Whichever way you shop you can be assured you are supporting a local business. The first impression is of an Aladdin’s cave of goodies and Neil is a friendly face when you go through the door. He knows his stuff and he knows his suppliers too.
You can just browse and you’ll find something which takes your fancy but there are some specialities. In response to customer enquiries Vintage Bluebird makes lampshades to order. Take your fabric and they will make the lampshade up in a range of sizes at a very reasonable price. they are a great finishing touch to a newly decorated bedroom.
The shop also stocks the Tissington-made Wick And A Prayer candles as well as being part of the Ashbourne Fairtrade initiative. Fairtrade is something the town should shout about. We became a Fairtrade town in 2005 and the range of Fairtrade products available and the number of shops
involved has grown steadily ever since. Vintage Bluebird stocks Fairtrade lanterns at very competitive prices. The same lanterns are offered online for double the price and with postage on top. There really is something for every pocket. I liked the vintage house number tiles and some of the jewellery on display.
The final thing I noticed was the excellent selection of hand painted Christmas decorations. Part of a vivid display in the heart of the shop. This is a great example of careful buying, and nice presentation. The vintage look is very fashionable at the moment and its great that Ashbourne has its own retailer in this area. I usually do a price comparison at the end of each blog but it is really difficult to do with a shop like Vintage Bluebird because you simply won’t find the items they stock at the big retailers. The shop really does lay bare the fallacy that Ashbourne shops don’t sell a broad range of items. I would challenge people to easily find the items Vintage Bluebird sell in either Derby or Birmingham! Call in and have a look around. You’ll get a warm welcome and may just pick up a stylish bargain.