If you live in West London you’ll be familiar with Blue Almonds – the luxury baby and nursery boutique in Chelsea that offers an intimate, personal shopping experience to guide you through a stylish motherhood.
This year sees Blue Almonds celebrating its tenth anniversary and we caught up with the boutique’s founder, Izabela Minkiewicz, to find out how she’s marking this milestone.
Blue Almonds founder Isabel Mankiewicz outside her Walton Street store
Congratulations on celebrating ten years of Blue Almonds, how will you be celebrating?
Thank you! One of my favourite layette brands is Kissy Kissy – I had always wanted to stock their range in the shop but for many years we couldn’t as they were already stocked nearby. However, this year, I’m delighted that not only are we now stocking Kissy Kissy, we have collaborated with them to create our own Blue Almonds x Kissy Kissy collection to mark our 10th year.
The designs are very simple and elegant and feature our rocking horse logo in grey, pink and blue with Kissy Kissy’s signature white Peruvian pima cotton. The collection includes a babygro, hat, bib and blanket and all the pieces can be personaslised. I’m very excited about the collection!
The Blue Almonds X Kissy Kissy Collection ranges from £11-£35
Retail has been tough over the past few years, what have you been doing to ensure that customers come through your doors?
It’s been a rollercoaster with lots of highs and lows – the economy has been tough and many people have been choosing to shop online rather than visit bricks and mortar stores but thankfully we have endured!
One of the areas we have been focussing on is offering a personalisation service in-store as so many things in our store can be personalised and we’ve found that people love to give gifts that feel really special and this is a great way to achieve this.
We also offer a nursery design service which is becoming increasingly popular as people are looking for something which feels unique to them. We visit our customer’s home and provide them with a nursery brief based on the space, their budget and the overall aesthetic for the nursery.
Plus, we’ve been organising more in-store events and pop-ups which people seem to really enjoy. We recently did a pop up with MORI which was great fun – we had sleep experts and midwives in store talking to customers and giving them advice and they all left with great goodie bags too, of course!
If felt as if Blue Almonds became a household name overnight after those pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge shopping for nursery items for Prince George went viral. How was that time for you?
It’s was a crazy time as there was so much press interest in what Catherine would be buying for George – and this was even before he was born! We had a lot of interest from people all around the world, keen to find out what might be featured in the Royal nursery.
We actually launched our Royal Collection shortly afterwards as we realised that interest in the Royal family would endure – and it has. Needless to say we are all so excited for the next Royal baby in 2018!
And finally, what’s next for Blue Almonds?
We are continuing to develop our website to ensure that people who can’t make it to the shop can have an enjoyable experience when on our website. We are also going to be launching our Concierge service in the New Year too.
Many of our customers aren’t parents but are buying for family members and friends, so we wanted to make the experience of buying gifts simpler. We help curate gifts based on age, gender and budget.