Following a number of months toying with an idea in my head, I chatted to the lovely Miss Pearl about joining my in-development adventure and before I knew it we were on the road to Cork on a recce: The Vintage Roadtrip was born!
As the project is still being worked on I won’t bore you with details; suffice to say the trip was enhanced with incredible Vintage, wonderful stores and fabulous characters. For now however, I can share some of the fruits of our labour with beautiful images from the aforementioned Miss Pearl and a few words on the establishments that were kind enough to have us visit.
First up… sure ’tis herself: Miss Daisy Blue.
Located in Cork’s Market Parade, this magical store first opened its doors just across the hall in equally charming, but significantly smaller surroundings. Following its move, the distinctly feminine ambiance remains but there’s a definite edge to the interior which blends seamlessly in new store. I say ‘new’ in the loosest term as the setting is bursting with such a unique character that you really can’t imagine Miss Blue ever resided anywhere else. But she did… and the refurbishment venture on the new premises was mammoth.
The project started in the summer of 2012 with the doors opening the following November (as the staff still beavered away at finishing touches right up until the key was turning). During this time the emphasis was on collaboration, with every member of the MDB team getting involved. They spent time on their honkers, painted with builders, lugged stock from a to b, swept, polished and admired, but probably most importantly, they shared their vision and opinions with Ms. Miss Daisy Blue herself, owner Breda (read her Vintage Musings here). There was a scrapbook created where all staff members (and some non-staff members too) shared ideas for the store. Every proposal was considered and all input counted. The thoughts of this collaboration made me smile; I imagined the level of creativity and excitement that must have existed during this time although somehow I wasn’t at all surprised.
Sometimes you walk in to a shop and meet a staff member, someone who is paid to be there, doing the job they’re supposed to and keeping everyone satisfactorily happy. Other times you walk in to a shop and meet a team member, someone who is of course paid to be there and doing the job they’re supposed to be doing, but along with that they are loving their role, they are feeling like an integral part of the business and they are putting their heart and soul into every single customer interaction. The latter can only come from feeling valued – itself a feeling that goes hand in hand with being actively involved in the development of the business (in this case, via a scrapbook). Basically the MDB ladies rock … and it helps that they know their Vintage stuff, in a big way. The wonderful Carolyn Treacy shared some of her pearls of wisdom when we visited.
As you make your way to the second floor of the store, it’s hard to believe that, prior to MDB moving in, the upstairs was just a crowded stock room (with remainders of an old kitchen thrown in for good measure). Due to its previous use, no one knew what a fantastic space lay covered here, or of the incredible light that was being blocked. It wasn’t until the builders began to pull down the ceiling that the skylight found its time to shine. Once the electrics had been checked and the builders had undone the thick layering on the ceiling, it became clear that this space was the star of the show and needed to be shared with the store’s customers. Here’s a little peak at the view upstairs.
The builders on the Miss Daisy Blue 2 project were a perfect fit; Niall Linehan Construction regularly work with salvaged materials so the project was a great marriage of minds that see beauty in the old and celebrate re-invention. Now acting as counters and shelves, the roller shutters are one of my favourite features and were originally used in a primary school gym. The clothes rails downstairs are made from copper piping and suddenly seem like the only acceptable place to hang Vintage clothes (so that’s why they’re always getting nicked from building sites!) The incredible wooden stairs were brought in from an old house on the north side of the city; left in their original worn state, they fit so perfectly with the overall look of the interior that you imagine they were just waiting for this fit-out to happen before being found. You wonder if these steps once hosted heels belonging to the owners of the dresses now for sale in this very store (ok well I do anyway!).
One upshot of the unique surroundings is that many female customers now not only bring their men to see the Vintage dress they need in their life, but also to show off the interior of the store… and to insist that their own house needs to be done up accordingly, pronto! Despite the risk of DIY dictates, the new store has seen an increase in male visitors overall; with the men’s rail just inside the door, it’s absolutely clear that they are catered for and negates the need for them to commit fully to engaging as they don’t have to come too far inside to see what’s on offer … quite the relief for the self-conscious male shopper.
Basically, Miss Daisy Blue has always been so much more than a clothes store and her new location reflects this beautifully.
She now resides at Unit 12, Market Parade, 51/53 Patrick St, Cork City.