Shop of the month: The Clothes Horse, Whitstable
The Clothes Horse is an essential destination for anyone visiting the wonderful coastal town of Whitstable in Kent and a key player in the rise of the town’s profile as the must go destination for anyone interested in independent culture and trends. Owned by Nicky Ingoldby, Spring/Summer ’14 has been the first season for The Clothes Horse stocking Braintree.
Nicky began her career in the fashion industry on a stall in Portobello Road Market before settling down on the Kent coast, where she opened a small shop called The Clothes Horse in Harbour Street, Whitstable. Over the the years the store has expanded in size and in the variety of its products, with Nicky opening The Clothes Horse’s sister shop in Whitstable, The Whiting Post.
We wanted to discover more about our new stockists, so we interviewed Helen Diamond, Head of Social Media at The Clothes Horse, to learn more about the store’s background, bestsellers, her favourite Braintree pieces, styling tips and more…
Describe The Clothes Horse in one sentence…
The Clothes Horse has a ‘scandi-chic’ feel, whilst giving Aladdin’s cave a run for it’s money!
Where is your store based and what is it like?
We are on Whitstable’s famous Harbour Street, in the heart of Whitstable. A stone throw from the beach, surrounded by amazing places to eat & drink local produce, and other gorgeous independent boutiques.
How did you come up with the name?
We wanted the store’s name to say what was “in the tin” so wanted to use ‘clothes’ in the title, combined with the saying that if you are a “Clothes Horse” you wear it well, a real example of someone doing justice to their attire.
The shop was also done out in handmade chunky wood frames, with connotations of vintage clothes horses used for drying clothes, and of course in the late 80’s, early 90’s any edgy shop would have “The” at the beginning of their shop title.
What was your background before you opened the store?
Nicky has a science background, having done Zoology at Exeter Uni where she met Adrian, who was doing a history degree. Having moved to London post uni they both soon realised that run of the mill graduate trainee jobs were not for them and so set up a market stall selling Vintage clothing in London’s Portobello Road market. Then a move to Whitstable in the mid eighties for the sailing, the arty culture and to be with family, a love for the town ensued.
In 1992, three weeks after the birth of their second child, Nicky opened the The Clothes Horse, a vintage and second hand clothes shop, when vintage did not quite have the same cachet as it does now. This was the first of our three shops and still going 22 years later. Over the years we have dropped the vintage elements of the business and moved it on to a Scandinavian/Bohemian look with lovely soft layers in natural fabrics.
Besides Braintree, what other products do you sell in your store?
We stock a wide range of different designers from the UK and EU in clothing, homeware, jewellery and accessories.
What is your favourite garment from the Spring/Summer ’14 collection?
My personal favourite piece from your SS14 collection has to be the Bombora Tunic. I wear it with a cut off denim skirt or leggings, oh and it looks gorgeous with slim white jeans or linen trousers… and it’s the perfect cover-up for the beach!
What is your Braintree bestseller?
Our bestsellers have to be your amazing bamboo socks! Our customers can’t get enough of them, buying one of every design because any other sock just feels wrong after having your feet so cared for by our Braintree socks 🙂
But as for your clothing, the winner for us would have to be the Adria Cropped Cardi. It is a real must have, so perfect for SS14 and it compliments all shapes and sizes. Not to mention being extremely useful. They are cut, and fall beautifully and a real joy to wear. Our customers can’t stop talking about how soft they are!
The close runner-up would be your Osaka Dress, again extremely flattering on a wide range of shapes and sizes. A very feminine and unique style, whilst still being very versatile and easy to wear.
What are your top tips for styling Braintree?
We find that as Braintree is such a unique and stand-alone brand we like to style Braintree with more Braintree! I do like to accessories with earthy, fun jewellery. We sell some great beads which I often team with some of your pieces, or some chunky silver.
I personally always like to add a pop of red lipstick, which goes beautifully with your sweet pastels. As soon as our customers try your clothing on you can see in there body language it makes them feel good, that’s all the style you need sometimes.
What kind of feedback do you get from customers that buy Braintree?
I have never heard a bad word said when it comes to Braintree. Our customers often comment on how your products are such great value for money. They also get a real kick out of supporting a British based company.
But the main aspect of your brand that people can’t stop singing your praises for has to be your materials. They really do speak for themselves, and people love hearing about how you use bamboo, hemp, recycled materials etc and they really want to support that. You are very loved here. The quality is often commented on also, it really is unbeatable.
With the Whitstable Oyster Festival taking place later this month, it is the perfect time to pay a visit to the beautiful coastal town of Whitstable. The week long celebration starts on Saturday 26th July 2014 and is packed full of food & drink events, music, parades, competitions, bbqs and much more!
If you find yourself in Whitstable, don’t miss out and head down to Harbour Street and pop into The Clothes Horse. If you are interested in learning more, follow Helen’s updates by following The Clothes Horse on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
ADDRESS: 40 Harbour St, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1AH
PHONE: 01227 275900
All images copyright to The Clothes Horse.
Please contact us at [email protected] for a list of stockists in your area, or alternatively shop our full collection online at www.thoughtclothing.com.