The Cove Boutique! My absolute favourite clothing shop, located in Barnstaple, North Devon.
I have spent millions of dollars at this shop and I’m pretty sure you will too! Chay and Amy are awesome people which makes it even easier to fall in love with the place.. It isn’t just a shop, it’s so much more than that…
Here we are catching up with Chay behind the scenes…
Chay, how did you first come up with the idea of my favourite shop in the entire universe at present?
Haha, well first off, I better say thanks for being the number one shopper at the mo!
The idea for the shop came from a few different origins really. I’ve been to a lot of great areas in the world over the years for vintage clothing; London, San Francisco and New York being particular hotbeds for these. However, I think the idea of it being a viable thing to do as a business was when we shopped and enjoyed the various vintage boutiques whilst holidaying in Barcelona. It is one of my most favourite cities to visit, the numerous retro boutiques scattered across the backstreets of the city inspired us.
I think the bustling atmosphere, created by fashion enthusiasts and holidaymakers had a lasting affect on what I really wanted in life. I also felt that I was destined to work for myself (I’m not too great with authoritative figures in a work environment). This is mostly because I hate the thought of there being a cap on being creative on a daily basis.
My girlfriend Amy, who is a successful artist in her own right, is very similar minded too, so it was an easy decision to quit our jobs and start building something for ourselves. So I guess we inspired each other to do it.
How did you come up with the name?
When we came about thinking of a name, we had to really look at a couple of factors. One being location, the other being keeping things simple. I’m sure if we had rushed into things, the shop would be called something crazy like ‘Chay and Amy’s vintage emporium of all things retro’ or something over the top like that haha. We waited until all the business plans were completed and all deals were made before coming up with The Cove. Being near so many coastal areas, we wanted to have a connection with the place we call home, and we thought a homage to the surrounding beaches and resorts was a great and simple name to build on.
Who is your favourite designer and why?
I don’t really have a favourite individual designer that I look up to, but I do have favourite brands who I would say influence the stock I get in the shop. Levis are probably my favourite brand, and have been for a long time now. Timeless and simple, they are the staple in so many peoples wardrobes, and for good reason.
We were fortunate enough to visit the Levis headquarters in San Francisco a few years ago, and I loved finding out the history of how it started as workwear in North America, to becoming arguably the most recognisable brand in the world of fashion.
I have recently started my own clothing line within The Cove brand, called Premium Essentials. It was always the plan from the off that I would like to finally start creating my own brand within a brand, so we can influence people’s dress sense. so far I feel as it is working. Often I’ll walk into people wearing the brand, whether it be one of the many t-shirts, a hoody, some sunglasses or a beanie. Maybe you will interview someone one day and they may feel the way about our stuff, the way I do about Levis haha! You gotta aim high!!
What makes you, your brand and shop special and stand out from the rest?
Customer interaction, without a doubt. I think the biggest thing you have to do as soon as you open a shop such as ours, is to connect with the demographics that visit you from the start, and build from there.
I love the fact that we have so many different faces come through the door on a daily basis, from all walks of life. I believe a lot of the people that come back to the shop like having somewhere where they feel comfortable to be in. From personal experiences over the years, I have often walked into shops, and immediately felt uncomfortable because of the lack of greeting or embrace you get from the people who work there. I never underestimate how that can feel, so I make it a rule to give off that warm family friendly feel to the place. Whether that be a chat about the clothing and artwork in the store, to a simple “how’s your day been” to the customer.
It’s amazing how many times I have turned someone’s initial brief visit into an hour long chat about topics on anything from fashion, music and sports (I love football, its my downfall).
We also have so many events held in the shop, that people treat the place as a social hub, which is exactly what I wanted it to be. Somewhere where you can hear a live band, watch a movie, have a drink and chat on the sofa, play some Xbox… All of these things are on offer here and very rarely can you find that in a retail environment.
Do you surf? Where’s your favourite surf spot in the big wide world? Or if you’re a beach bum, your favourite beach hang out?
HA! I do not surf unfortunately, as my sense of balance is somewhat lacking in a surf or skating sense, so I leave it to the guys and gals that can! I do however, love the beaches around North Devon, with favourites being Woolacombe and Putsborough. If I were to live anywhere in the world, I would say Santa Monica and Venice beach in Los Angeles would be a frontrunner!
Any other sports?
I think I mentioned it earlier, but yeah, football is a big passion of mine! I have played it locally since I was about 5 years old, so it’s something I’ve grown up with. I have played for various teams throughout the region, including your place of residence Woolacombe. Since the inception of the shop, I haven’t had the time to play, but that doesn’t stop me from watching it all the time, much to the annoyance of Amy haha! I’m also a pretty big boxing and MMA fan, along with a nice bit of tennis!
What music you into? Favourite band at the moment?
I have an eclectic taste in music, so it’s a case of what mood I’m in on the day that determines what I listen to. As much as I feel it has kinda killed up and coming bands making any real money in the business, I subscribe to apple music, it’s just so handy to have pretty much everything I’m into available at the touch of a button. I’m digging the new Red Hot Chilli Peppers album ‘The Getaway’ at the moment. I love the elements of funk they infuse into their songs. Makes me tap my hands and feet on my desk at work all day. I was a massive punk fan growing up, with such bands as AFI, The Misfits, Black Flag, The Bronx, Tiger Army and Gallows. I have to admit that my guilty pleasure for a while was Miley Cyrus and I can’t explain why ☹ Oh, and my favourite song ever is ‘Gimme Shelter’ by The Rolling Stones. Gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, haha!
Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline we should know about?
Lots of things! Firstly, we are in the beginning stages of planning the follow up to our first ever festival we created last year. Named the Connect and Create fest, it is a day celebrating independent businesses, artists and musicians from North Devon. We held the first one last November to great success, so we are looking to make this one bigger and better. I will stick a link in the next question box if people would like to see what it’s all about.
We are also looking to build on the monthly acoustic sessions we do in the shop, called ‘Unplugged Evenings’. We hold them once a month and its free to come along. The shop becomes a gig venue and talented musicians from all around come to play for us! We started them in January and they have been amazing so far.
I have new clothing line releases due out between now and Christmas, which I’m eager to share with you all and Amy is launching her very own clothing line in the coming months too. More on that subject soon.
Also I have been asked to create and design merchandise for a 3-piece folk band in Bristol, so I will be making a start on that in the coming weeks. These are opportunities I never dreamt I would have, had it not been for the success of the shop, so I’m thankful for that.
Oh yeah, we are introducing a new event at the shop this December. We are gonna be holding movie nights at The Cove!! We are going to play them off a projector, and have all kind of themed nights throughout the year! I’m really looking forward to that one in particular. Popcorn and drinks included!!
Thank you Chay!! Everything sounds so exciting! What’s your instagram website links etc..?
Readers of this blog receive 15% off until the 11th of September 2016 using code ‘KRISSEACOVE’ on our website: http://www.thecoveboutique.co.uk when purchasing our premium essential range.
Check out our instagram for retro items currently available in the shop @thecoveboutique (you can order through instagram or visit the shop in Barnstaple)!
You can also find us on Facebook by typing ‘The Cove Boutique’.
Plus if you wanted to check out the details of the upcoming Connect and Create fest, check the following link out: facebook.com/groups/connectandcreatefest