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Shopwatch: Young Ideas

A double winner at this month’s Drapers Independents Awards, Young Ideas’ new store gives it more space to show off its retail finesse.

With a beautiful new store opened in Ashbourne last month to replace the original unit in the Derbyshire town and a pair of Drapers Independents Awards under its belt, Young Ideas is setting the bar high for the independent sector.

The business - which was established in 1965 but has been under the ownership of Anne Wright since 2008 - took home the Womenswear Independent of the Year and the coveted Independent Retailer of the Year trophies at the Waldorf Hilton on November 7. And after visiting its newest store, it’s easy to see why.

The 2,500 sq ft Ashbourne store, at 10 St John Street, sits 150 yards from its previous rented location. It is part of a 17th-century coaching inn, a faded hotel purchased by Wright and her husband Colin this year. They have ambitious plans to redevelop it to include a cafe and brasserie, two retail units to be let, and eventually a gastro pub with 12 to 13 boutique hotel rooms.

The new store is manned by about a dozen employees, including an online team of three that works from the offices above. An attractive window display invites customers inside, where they will find a mixture of menswear
and womenswear, which is merchandised by brand but zoned into lifestyle areas such as casualwear or eveningwear.

Bestsellers in womenswear include Armani’s Collezioni and Jeans ranges, MaxMara and Diane von Furstenberg, while Hugo Boss and Paul Smith are popular with the local men. Chandeliers, rugs and warm lighting add a feminine touch to the womenswear area, while coat racks, vintage luggage and a bust used to display scarves add quirkiness to the menswear department.

The former inn’s period features, such as exposed beams, also combine to give a real sense of character.

The store also has a discreet appointment-only boudoir-style personal shopping room, where Young Ideas’ well-trained staff are on hand to offer customers a truly personalised service. Adding to its lifestyle appeal, it also has an exhibition space for local artists situated at the top of the stairs leading up from the ground
floor atrium.

With its focus on service and great brands housed within a store where the space has been used creatively to maximum effect, Young Ideas is a shining example of how to do independent retailing well.

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