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TRCH - Caitlin Moran

Pink & Lilly

13 August 10 words: Isabel Kaufman
The boutique that's most efficacious in every case
Pink & Lilly, Stoney Street, the Lace Market

Pink & Lilly is one of the trendiest boutiques I have ever been in; from the beautiful pink patterned wallpaper that adorns the back wall to the Pink & Lilly logo complete with its fluttering butterflies, the shop really is every girl’s dream.

Named after a brainstorming session between owner Caroline and a few friends, they decided on Pink & Lilly partly because of a Buckinghamshire pub with a romantic backstory about a Mr Pink who was the butler of a large house back in the 1800's and who fell in love with a chambermaid, Miss Lilly. This caused quite the scandal, but despite it all they stayed together and set up a business - which was turned into a pub by their first son. Caroline explained this, between making sure every customer was welcomed with a smile, "I also believe that the brand is very feminine and brands which are called something ‘and’ something always seem to be more memorable."

Caroline started out in the fashion business some 18 years ago, originally from Halesowen in the West Midlands, studying textiles in London before coming to Nottingham to study for her masters in fashion knitwear. "I live in Mapperley Park now which is a great area of the city, my favourite thing about Nottingham is that all my friends are here. I have met a lot of people along the way, plus I love the Gladstone pub on Loscoe Road."
 

Paper Plane coin purse, £14.50
While Caroline was busy helping a lady whose very sweet daughter had taken a fancy to a beautiful Russian doll purse, I took a look around the tiny but perfectly proportioned shop that Caroline has built up. Starting as a wholesale merchandiser, Pink & Lilly's now has a trendy Nottingham address and a website. "Unfortunately our Beeston store had to close in January as we just weren't getting the trade there" Caroline explained that she felt the lack of people to smaller towns was due to the fact that the recession was making people rethink their spending "I think people save up and see shopping as more of a special occasion now, so they are coming into the city instead of shopping regularly in their local towns."
 
Pink & Lilly’s biggest brand is Eucalyptus, which is owned by a friend of Caroline’s, and the store also boasts Pink & Lilly's own range of clothing and accessories, plus Ringspun, Paper Plane and more. "I have to sell what people want, but still make sure the collection is tight, it's all about the customer at the end of the day, and all our pieces are special. You can also personalise some of the clothes we sell, so if you decide you like a Pink & Lilly dress but you want it in luminous yellow, no problem, I can do that for you, and I can make it to measure.
 
Eucalyptus Alexa Mono Dress, £69.95
"People see our location and the look of the shop and think we are a really pricey place, which in a way is nice, but I worry it puts people off coming in. The majority of our dresses are between £30-£60, with our jewellery lines starting from £5 - that's cheaper than Topshop! One of my favourite pieces we stock at the moment is this Alexa dress by Eucalyptus, the best thing is it come in all kinds of colours, including blue and white poker spots which is perfect for the summer, it's also a magic dress because it sucks in your tummy and makes your boobs look fab."
 
The store is expecting a flurry of deliveries for their Autumn/Winter collection, including Liquorice and the Australian brand MINKPINK. Caroline clearly loves clothes and tells me "My favourite thing is when people come in asking for help because I love styling people, and now we are stocking shoes it means I can style an entire outfit. I would have loved to have styled Paula Yates - I bet most young people don't even know who she is, but to say the bare minimum she was Peaches Geldof's mum, but she has always been my style icon."
 
Caroline certainly seems to have taken Nottingham into her heart; not only does she run the store and the website with a little help from close friends, but she also teaches at New College Nottingham. "I like to be busy, and know what is happening. Nottingham is great because you can produce all your own stuff locally, I actually used to make my stuff myself but it got too much to do alone and so now I have them done at a unit in the designer studio, plus there are markets and lace shops here, I have friends who have to get their stuff made miles away, but I can just pop down and request a few more dresses, it's great having all that on your doorstep."
 
Pink & Lilly's website is equally as girly and eye-catching as the store, and now carries almost all their lines. "We really want to build on the website as we have found it has driven a lot of people to the store because they see something they like and they want to try it on. I want to expand it and get everything on there, I see Asos's website as inspiration they pretty much have world domination now. But that does not mean that the store will loose any of its presence." The internet is certainly a way to keep costs down but Caroline’s passion for her brand and the industry makes me think you wouldn't be able to get rid of her without a fight. "I think it is so much harder now, especially for people just starting in the industry. My advice is to do as much work experience as you can or work freelance and learn about the industry, be persistent, I did and it really paid off. But most of all, be nice - because people remember nice."
 
 
 
WIN! Pink & Lilly have very kindly offered up not one but two Paper Plane gifts to give away. The beautiful purse and make-up bag is yours for the taking - and all you need to do is send your full name to [email protected] by August 31.
 
 
Pink & Lilly, 2 Stoney Street, the Lace Market, NG1 1LG. Open 7 days a week, 10-6 Mon-Sat, 12-4 Sun

Pink & Lilly website 

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