I do love when people buck a trend.
There’s a cool new girl in town and she’s called Tracy Murray – the new owner of Murray’s Vintage Clothing in Ballinamore.
Anyone that’s been reading this blog since 2007 and my gorgeous new Life Dreaming blog … know that I believe in what some people think is impossible.
Is Ireland suffering economically … no doubt about it … and I’m all with the French and the Greeks … tell the bastards we’re not happy [but that's a story for another blog].
Is this time both an opportunity and a challenge … damn right Skippy.
I’ve been a Time Billionaire since 2008 [and living in a remarkable state of genteel poverty] and I’ve built 2 BIG ideas from scratch … one will be so big globally [we're launching the Life Dreaming site and online LD Expedition course in Feb 2011] that I might just offer to help the 2 Brians [our political 'leaders'] out with the billions of euro deficit [a woman can dream]. The other idea is about to transform the way a national charity shares, stores and grows all the knowledge that exists in the organisation with its workers [online SKIL2] … and I did that one probono … it’s so cool it gives me the shivers.
Enough about me … let me introduce you to Tracy Murray and her fab Vintage Clothing emporium [that's my word not Tracy's but I think it gives a real sense of the treasures that reside behind the front door.]
The emporium has been open just over a week and I wandered in to wish Tracy luck and ask her if I could do an interview for this blog.
When I went in today I ran across 2 of the best women I know – Pam & Angie and Pam’s yum husband Paul. They live in Dublin and love visiting here in their own cottages near Ballinamore. These women know their vintage and Pam sells brilliant stuff on Etsy site.
As true blue Dubs Angie and Pam could sniff out a great bargain across a couple of counties … and when they say they love a vintage shop … they mean it … no messin’.
They LOVED Tracy’s emporium … and so do I. [click on pics for bigger images]
I asked Tracy the question a few people have been asking me … Why Ballinamore?
Tracy – Why not. Ballinamore is a great community with loyal people living in it and I live 10 minutes away.
Liz – Was it always a passion of yours to open a vintage shop?
Tracy – when I was 6 my gran took me into a vintage shop in Edinburgh [Tracy has a fab Scottish accent] that has been open and run by the same family since 1890 … I didn’t want to leave and knew it was something I wanted to do one day. It’s taken a few years since then and now I have the shop I always wanted to open.
Liz – How did you get from Edinburgh at 6 to Ballinamore now?
Tracy – Quite a few years ago I went to France to study and learn the language and met a Frenchman [Charlie]. He was trained in the old carpentry techniques of past centuries and as part of his training he had to go away for a year. He ended up in Kesh, Leitrim for a year! The overall training in France took 10 years and he was the first Companion [a very old Guild] to do training in Ireland. He now runs a business Art Francais [creating custom staircases].
Anyway, we fell in love and he kept raving about Ireland and Leitrim specifically so we moved here 6 years ago. We live 10 minutes away from Ballinamore now.
Liz – You’ve only been open a week … any interesting stories so far?
Tracy – you wouldn’t believe this if you saw it in a film. We weren’t even open when we got a call from a lady wanting to get something for a wedding. I got chatting with her and she said ‘ this shop reminds me of a place run by my cousin in Edinburgh’ … it was the same shop that I first went in to when I was 6!!!
My first customer and she’s related to the family in the vintage shop that started my dream.
I was in the shop again recently on a buying trip and it just feels like things have gone full circle and I’m doing something I love.
Liz – tell me a bit about the business … what do you think is it’s unique selling proposition?
Tracy – We are the only vintage shop in Leitrim. I’m sourcing items from Europe and the USA so you won’t find them anywhere else.
I also feel really strongly that prices should be reasonable and you can see they are … linen scarves for 14 euro … mens and womens jeans from 8 euro [and wranglers /levis for 23 euro] … chanel style jackets for 10 to 12 euro.
We have items for men and women which is not often the case in vintage shops.
Liz – will you accept bags of clothing from people or are you more specialised?
Tracy – we are more specialised and I have a lot of different suppliers that I use to source products globally. Of course, if you have a unique piece of vintage clothing or accessories then pop in and we can chat. We’re not working along the lines of the charity shops where they accept lots of clothing. I really want to focus on good quality vintage pieces for men & women at affordable prices.
60′style orange coat 12 euro
Man’s cord green jacket – 20 euro
Linen scarves [I loved these] – 14 euro
Liz – Tell me about what you’re plans are for the business?
Tracy – I want to keep sourcing great products and we’re going to develop a blogsite so people can see anything new that we bring in. I’m also very keen to develop an upstairs area for Mens Clothing and Accessories. I’ve had quite a few men come in and buy trousers and jackets and I think they’d feel a bit more comfortable with their own space.
That’s Tracy with the Wrangler & Levis [22 and 23 euro] … other jeans start at 7 euro
Liz – I noticed a range of costumes. With Halloween coming up are they all for hire?
Tracy – they certainly are and we received a new batch of costumes today … so if you want to do Abba or Sexy nurse or Gorilla or Cruella da Vil … we have them here.
something for everyone [seriously ... who wears that last piece? Someone must I suppose]
Liz – I noticed that you also hire out kilts … is that mainly for weddings?
Tracy – yes and we have small kilts for the boys. Nothing quite like a man in a kilt [liz – with you on that one!]
Liz – I noticed that you have some really beautiful saris and Indian dresses.
Tracy – I love the colour and quality of these pieces. The raw silk trousers with hand embroidery could work with a gorgeous black top. The dresses are all hand embroidered and beaded. These would be gorgeous dressy outfits for Christmas. [Liz … I totally agree. I have my eye on the trousers and one of the black dresses]
raw silk trousers with hand embroidery [25 euro] black silk dress with hand beading [25 euro]
Liz … I’d wear them together and as separates with sky high heels.
Gorgeous blue sari dress with fab beading detail. These can be worn with a blue silk pair of loose trousers.
This is pure silk with the most gorgeous heavy gold beading … simple elegance.
Liz – You have quite a lovely range of items … it’s a real treasure trove. I’ll be back and wish you every success.
1940′s bolero [50 euro] … fab for Xmas and Tracy will be getting more in
Yummy warm coat – 60 euro
I loved the 2 Chanel inspired coats on the left [10 and 12 euro!!!]
I wish Tracy every success and will be visiting often … she has a chaise lounge and you guys know how I love to loll.
Go visit and let Tracy know that you read about her on this blog.
I’m off to visit Kimme [a blogger who is now a friend] in Germany tomorrow for 4 days. Really need a break from Ireland and just experience something different. Haven’t been out of the country for 2 years. Time for a little adventure.