Nestled in the back streets of the cultural side of Dublin, Scout is a treasure trove of kitsch buys. Located beside Smock Alley Theatre, the newly opened boutique owned by Wendy Crawford is colourful and cutesy from the shop front to the changing rooms – a Pinterest dream.
The mint green storefront leads you into a world of beauty and style, making you wish your Visa card was limitless and you had a bigger house to revamp with vintage finds. The navy interior is clean and simplistic, giving full artistic licence to the finishing touches that Wendy has used to brighten up the store. An eclectic mixture of bespoke, vintage and different brands add to the shop’s aesthetic, including pieces from YMC, Grenson, Armor Lux, Petria Lenehan, Fog Linen, Wendy’s Wardrobe Vintage, Electronic Sheep, The Stowe, Baggu, Kinfolk and 31 Chapel Lane.
Scout is only a new venture, still in its infancy in Smock Alley Court. Until very recently, Wendy worked in another well-known store in Dublin city: Bow in Powerscourt Townhouse. “We had come to end of our five years there together so it just felt like the right time to spread our own wings a little. We had…done what we could with the space so it was time to find a larger space that we both could grow into over time! I’d like to do more interiors & possibly mens in time & the new space could really work for that!” Wendy says.
So why should we shop at Scout? How does it stand out from the crowd? Wendy claims that it’s a case of being different and looking for brands that others don’t have, creating a reason for the customer to come in and shop at your store above others. She adds, “It’s also about creating a different retail environment. So many stores now rely on the same formula & it’s all so boring & repetitive. I like small indie stores as you get a feel for the person running it.”
This idea may be a simple one but works for the target audience. Walking into Scout is similar to walking into an Aladdin’s cave of style and individuality, something that the average high-street store can often lack. She has also done what many other haven’t – stocking brands that cover a large demographic of women without compromising on style. Vintage shopping can often be seen as a younger person’s sport and Wendy has created an environment that gives older women the ability to join in and succeed.
“The Scout lady is a bit of a mix! She’s sometimes the older lady investing in key pieces for her wardrobe & then it’s the younger girl who likes the bright satchels or pieces of vintage! I also like to hope that the younger girl who doesn’t quite have it yet will be back in time when they do! It’s a journey for everyone & I always followed boutiques that I aspired to & then bought in when I was older! It’s important to capture the imagination of everyone!”
In a tough economic unknown that can leave independent shop owners staring into the abyss, Wendy has managed to create a brand that appeals to so many without selling out on quality. When asked what advice she had for others that had similar ambitions during the recession, she had just two simple pieces of advice: be prepared and work hard.
“Think about it long & hard. Maybe do an internship in a boutique. It’s a really tough thing to do in this country as the pool of people you appeal to is quite small and whilst they love what you do, may not always be able to support it in a monetary sense. It might seem a bit s**t to work for free but it truly gives you an insight into whether it’s for you. I think it’s the same of any creative industry. Cut your teeth in a controlled way with low risk & just see if you can’t imagine doing anything else. Then go for it!”
Scout is a must-see store – located in Smock Alley Court on Essex Street West, just minutes away from Temple Bar. A boutique stocked with must-have items; make sure you have a full purse, as you’ll want to bring home everything with you! I truly hope Scout stands the test of time and continues to bring the fashion lovers of Dublin something new and exciting.
Until next time,