Losing the thread
Opening your own shop can’t be that hard can it? Here Dougal Marwick details the adventures he and his friends had opening Edinburgh menswear store Pageant
A shop. Why ever not? Inspired by trips to Berlin, London and even Glasgow, my friend Anna Stride and very-soon-to-be friend Claire Anderson suggest that we collectively open a menswear boutique in Edinburgh. Despite my retail experience amounting to one tortuous summer spent repeatedly folding and unfolding the same t-shirt simply to stave off boredom in a high street chain, I do consider myself to be quite the dandy. Besides which, fashion is all Kate Moss and Miami and champagne for breakfast, right? Easy.
Actually, not that easy. The quest for affordable commercial property in Edinburgh (a misnomer if ever there were one) throws up countless red herrings. On the plus side, we have a name: Pageant, which conjures up images of medieval warriors, church fetes and pushy American mothers. Graphic equaliser Chris Logan designs the shop identity with minimal cajoling.
Some carefully worded e-mails and transatlantic conversations mean we secure brands from as far afield as NYC, Helsinki, and Sweden. When added to the ever-growing piles of vintage garb currently littering our flats, it makes for quite a tasty haul. If only we had somewhere to put it.
The gods smile upon us. A former printers workshop comes up in Edinburgh’s West Port, an area better known for gentlemen’s ‘entertainment’ than sartorial elegance. In reality it’s home to a surprising number of groovy independent stores. After some council-initiated hoop jumping, we have us some premises!
One month until P-day and I find myself in a transit van full of plasterboard, in the freezing rain, in Seafield Crematorium. Someone has moved the council dump. Despite being a 32 year old man, I feel like I want my mum.
Eight hour days become ten hour days become 12 hour days and so on. Did I mention that all of us have full-time jobs?
Friday, 16 May 2008, 7pm
Opening night! There is just time to unplug the hoover, don some fancy gutties and guzzle down a beer before the first invitees appear. The whole place is awash with Edinburgh’s hipster illuminati and Anna’s neighbour is our very first customer buying some vintage Adidas. The night ends in predictable drunken chaos and we breathe a sigh of relief as phase one is complete.
Saturday, 17 May 2008, 10am
Ouch. Now if we can only flog a few more t-shirts, world domination will surely follow . . .
Pageant, 10 Lauriston Street, Edinburgh, www.pageant-store.com