Gail from Bournefree spoke to Juliette Ramsey about her beautiful Retro inspired gift & clothing shop at the Enterprise Centre, next to Eastbourne Station.
What kind shop is aurelie & rose?
I sell vintage inspired gifts, cards, homeware, bath products, reproduction 1940s & 1950s clothing. Anything pretty, quirky and retro! New stock arriving every day.
What is your best seller?
In normal times I would say the beautiful 1950s swing dresses, in bright cotton prints and very flattering! But as there have been no festivals and weddings and parties, I have found that home fragrance products and homeware have been very popular as people try to make the most of staying in.
The best seller by volume is greetings cards. I have lots of regular customers who come to stock up as they say they can always find an unusual card here.
Are you able to predict what is going to be the next big seller?
I think my clothing will prove very popular again as things open up, as everyone has missed dressing up for an occasion (not that you need to wait for one as I wear a retro dress most days!) I have just introduced a range of partyware which is provoking interest as outside gatherings gather pace – it is very pretty.
What is unique about your shop?
I choose my stock on the basis of quality, design and price and also reflecting the business’s ethos of vintage, retro or quirky! I want people to be spoilt for choice when they come in and not to have seen most of the products elsewhere.
What was the inspiration for starting your business?
I was a law lecturer in London for 15 years but the combination of travelling and long hours meant that an offer of voluntary redundancy came at just the right time to indulge my passion for all things retro and a desire to become self employed. That was in 2013 and I am still going!
What is the best thing about basing your business in the Enterprise Centre
It is great being part of a community here and the combination of shops and cafes draws customers in. I hope the Centre becomes better known as many locals still don’t seem to know that we are here and how much it has changed over the past few years.
How are you keeping things ‘Covid–Safe’
The Centre and my shop are regularly cleaned, hand sanitiser is provided and a one-way system is in place. I have a large till screen and offer contactless payments. There is plenty of space here which means that customers can shop safely and at ease.
How can you persuade people to use independent shops?
I promote the use of independent shops on social media and the Centre also does a good job.
I noticed that there was a real sense of shopping locally before Christmas, with many customers making a point of telling me that was their intention from now on, so I hope it will continue. Smaller businesses are more agile and able to respond to customer’s needs and wants.
What’s your opinion on the future of the high street?
I think that innovative independent shops will thrive especially if they are grouped together, but that they will need to have an online presence as well to survive. The weaker chains will disappear, as many have already.
What advice would you give yourself when starting out?
Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Enterprise Shopping Centre
Eastbourne BN21 1BD