Velvet Ladies and Velvet Menswear shops in Ramsbottom continue to flourish during challenging times on the high street. Gail Bailey chatted to owner Debbie McDermott to find out more. Photography: Kirsten Platt
This month sees the 10th anniversary of Velvet Ladieswear store in Ramsbottom and the first anniversary of the opening of their sister shop Velvet Menswear.
“There aren’t a lot of independent shops left on the high street,” explains owner Debbie McDermott. “I definitely think our success is down to being a fairly large shop, housing a variety of brands under one roof, with lots of unusual choices for our customers and importantly, offering a very personable service with superbly knowledgeable staff.”
Opening a second store just a few doors down from the ladieswear outlet has certainly been a positive move for Debbie and her team and has exceeded their original expectations: “We opened the menswear store with the purpose of having something for our existing customers’ husbands, and we recognised there was a gap in the market. It has been such a successful outcome for us, and we’re so pleased at how well it’s taken off,” says Debbie.
One of the menswear store’s biggest success stories is the award-winning Barbour collection. Founded in 1894 Barbour is synonymous with quality and style and has been a regular winner at the prestigious Draper Awards.
Another leading brand is Fynch-Hatton. Inspired by the adventurer of the same name, the range produces handsome shirts, coats, jackets and smart trousers, using only the finest yarns, materials and natural fibres for a luxurious look and feel.
High quality, finish, design, sizing and fit are some of the outstanding characteristics of the Bugatti collections also available at Velvet Menswear.
A stylish choice of footwear by both Barbour and Bugatti are offered too.
The concept of the menswear shop was to mirror the format of Velvet Ladieswear, which was already working so well. One major successful line in Velvet Ladieswear is Robell, who are Europe’s top selling ladies’ trouser brand, known for their flattering styles and perfect fit for every type of figure. In Velvet Menswear the Meyer trouser is held in the same high esteem. Meyer trousers have been designed from years’ of experience and with a sure instinct for style and design with precise fit and exceptional quality.
Velvet is the biggest stockist in the North West of both Robell and lifestyle range Joules: “We have stocked both brands since we opened 10 years ago and we have grown together!” Debbie explains.
The interior of Velvet Menswear has been carefully considered and designed. From the moment you step through the door the clean walls, dark wood, sport and movie memorabilia instantly create an ambience of masculinity: “We make sure we keep a focus on current trends and wanted the shop to feel like a man’s shop.
“We focus on smart casual clothes and have a wide range of jackets, blazers and accessories too.”
Velvet very much supports the local community and last year sponsored rugby player Josh Johnson from the Salford Red Devils and this year will be supporting local team, Sedgley Park Tigers.
Part of Debbie and her team’s success is down to the fact that they are always on the lookout for something new and never stand still. “We visit trade shows both in the UK and in Europe to source new suppliers and for inspiration – the key one being the Copenhagan International Fashion Fair in Denmark.”
New brands in the ladieswear store include Dolcezza which is a unique range with a modern concept of fusing prints from artists around the world with fashion to create a very new and distinctive style, and the timeless, elegant and feminine collection from Betty Barclay. Stunning Frank Lyman dresses and separates are available along with Moda in Pelle, Carmela and Bugatti footwear ranges in the ladies’ shop too.
Both Velvet Ladies and Menswear focus on the whole shopping experience for their customers: “We have a very friendly and down-to-earth team. There is no pressure to buy and we want shopping with us to be an enjoyable and happy experience where customers make the right choice.
One customer recently commented that she enjoys coming to us because she knows she can take her time and that we will help her buy something that is right for her.”
Wine, canapes and special guests will be plentiful on 2nd April to celebrate the special birthdays for both stores: “Customers new and old are the ones who ultimately make our stores the success they are so celebrating with them is important to us.”
56 Bridge Street, Ramsbottom BL0 9AQ
15–17 Bridge Street, Ramsbottom BL0 9WN