“Have a new shopping experience”, this was all I had to do for this part of my uni project. Seems simple right? Not so much when you live in Falmouth and have done all your life so know every shop as though it were your own home! I racked my brain, trying to think of shops I had not yet explored. My searching lead me to Truro, my nearest city (although most would laugh at it being one due to its tiny size). It suddenly hit me that I had never really explored Debenhams. I had briefly been in there once with a friend on her quest for foundation and to be honest just the make-up area intimidated me!
So one Tuesday me and my Nana set off to Truro on the bus. Having her with me added to the idea of new experiences because since growing up I have never really been shopping with her. I dragged her round my usual stores; Topshop and Newlook, although she drew the line at Lush because the small of all the lovely bath bombs was too much for her!
Being with her lead me to my first new shopping experience of the day- Sports Direct. Nana needed a new backpack and she always went there to buy them. I myself had never ventured up the swift escalator, because as anyone who even remotely knows me will tell you; me and sport really don’t get on! The shop was so overwhelming! So much stuff crammed into a relatively small space. There were trainers and boots on shelves all the way up to the ceilings. Some of the items were so high up you needed to get an assistant to come and use a pole to get them down. We eventually found the backpacks (after going to the complete wrong end of the store) they again were hung all the way up the wall so as pretty short women me and Nana had no chance of getting them down. After looking Nana was on the verge of giving up as none of them were quite right. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted more a few feet away then even more a bit further than that. They were really spread across the store. The racks of backpacks were packed and every time Nana tried to put one back another fell off! Finally Nana found a bag she liked and we went to pay. The staff were very friendly but dressed in sportswear which yes, fitted the store but seemed a bit odd to me.
Overall I found the store very overwhelming and would defiantly find it hard to find something specific in there. I was surprised to find a few non-sporting items I quite liked including an awesome pair of purple animal print converse-style shoes at a really good price. Everything was really well priced actually which I suppose is due to the massive quantities they stock.
We then decided to pop into the White Company store nearby as neither of us had ever been in. My first thought was “wow, it’s white in here!” which was really to be expected. The shop smelt kind of vanillary and sweet but in a subtle way. This worked well with the clean theme of the store. The displays were lovely; some with little scenarios such as a picnic set up on a table but most were simple and nicely spaced. The staff didn’t seem to mind us just browsing around which was nice. Don’t you just hate it when you feel as though staff are watching you wondering why on earth you are there? Everything was pretty pricey but nicely presented and made. We both came out feeling very calm and relaxed. I may go there in the future but not to buy their clothes as they were too simple and “grown up” for me. I would go there to buy a gift such as a candle or one of their stunning mother of pearl photo frames.
Now it was time to go to Debenhams. Spread over 3 floors with make-up, shoes and some clothes on the bottom, womenswear on the middle and childrenswear on the top. The main thing that struck me about Debenhams is the use of brand/designer names. It was always very clear who created what you were looking at which was helpful. The make-up area is very daunting to me as it’s pretty much the only place in Cornwall you will see the names “Prada” and “Chanel”. The way the make-up area is organised is slightly confusing as you could be looking at Benefit one minute then realise you have strayed into Bobby Brown territory. I wasn’t expecting to like anything in Debenhams besides the make-up however when I saw the H! by Henry Holland line I fell in love. I wanted to take it all home although my favourite piece which I may go back for was a dress covered in a red and white candy print, so cute!
Upstairs was a bit of a mismatch. Although all of the different designers and brands had their own clearly marked section some of the different design ascetics looks a bit bizarre side by side. For example a collection involving a shocking amount of neon next to a collection that was predominantly subtle navy, cream and beige. I did actually buy something in here; a Mantaray key ring shaped like a little cat with a zipper made from it’s tail revealing a small compartment I am storing a small tin on hand cream in. I like that this brand donates some of their profits to the Marine Conservation Society.
We didn’t make it upstairs as time was ticking and we needed to catch the bus home. Debenhams was not what I expected, when I got past the make-up, the store what far less intimidating. I wasn’t keen on the layout though so doubt this will become one of my regular haunts however I think I will pop back from time to time to check out the H! by Henry Holland collection.
My day was full of new shopping experiences and I think it has made me more open-minded regarding entering stores I may be unsure about. My favourite new store was defiantly the White Company. I loved the simple, clear layout and the interesting displays. It smelt so gorgeous and I left feeling very blissful. I think layout is very important to me as a shopper. I hate shops that feel cluttered or full to bursting. I prefer a shop with carefully selected items, displayed in a thoughtful manner, ever if this means paying a little more. What can I say? I like the finer things in life.