I feel really lucky to live where I do. Bristol is such a vibrant city, there is so much to see and do. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the UK I’d rather live. I’m fortunate to live right next to one of the most thriving independent streets in the UK: Gloucester Road, which has a fantastic selection of interesting shops and boutiques.
I personally believe that its important to support local shops and independent retailers. They give us variety and a sense of community we cant get from chain stores. They also provide employment, often on more flexible and understanding terms than large companies can. Many independent shops support young designers and producers, and help them on their way. Without this step up, many interesting designers would probably struggle to get exposure or the patronage they need to actually start a career.
With this in mind I want to give a bit of blog love to some of my favourite indie shops and boutiques. Most of these have online shops too, so even if you don’t live in Bristol, you can still enjoy them! I’d love it if you could share the love for your local independent shops too, why not join me and share your favourites with the world?
First up is a special favourite of mine, Portabella on Cheltenham Road.
Address: 186 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5RB
Portabella is a gorgeous little boutique, just a minute’s walk from the end of Gloucester Road. It has a great selection of womenswear, accessories and jewellery. What makes the shop special for me is a combination of the stock they choose and their fantastic service. I have bought two of my favourite ever dresses from Portabella, and I get asked where I got them from almost every time I wear them.
The clothes they stock are beautiful and follow trends but not laboriously so. Their style is classic and quirky combined. They manage to blend a variety of looks together, and they always have strong colour themes which excites me when I shop in there. They only stock a small number of each item, and once its gone, its gone – so its worth checking in there regularly as stock changes all the time.
They have excellent service too. Alex is lovely and runs their Twitter account and is really helpful without being pushy or ‘salesy’ if you know what I mean! I spotted a fox jumper on their Facebook page today, Tweeted them, and went in and picked it up this evening after work. I got to the shop late but they stayed open for me and let me have a look around: now that is what I call good service!
Have a look at what I picked up on my latest visit to Portabella (I’m still coveting a dress with foxes on…Santa?? Haha):
A rather foxy jumper by Sugarhill Boutique
Such a cute jumper! Its a lovely fine knit that’s really soft and light. I’m really into my novelty knitwear so this was a great addition to my growing collection. £45
Burgundy tunic for winter by Influence
A simple burgundy/oxblood/claret/whatever coloured tunic I’ll be layering this winter. Its very soft and finely knitted. They are in bright blue and black versions too. £12
Grungy dress by Influence
A grungy dress that sits just below the knee. I liked the simplicity of the shape of this dress and the textured pattern with the splashes of turquoise. £26
Please share your favourite indie shops and boutiques with me!
Give them some love in the lead up to Christmas!