As part of our Plastic Free Communities Campaign with Surfers Against Sewage, we are working with local businesses to fight plastic waste and the pollution it causes
by eliminating single-use plastic from their business and asking them to commit to green alternatives.
You can find out more about the Campaign here.
Encore; Dress Agency and Vintage Boutique
This week saw a visit to Fettercairn to Encore; Dress Agency and Vintage Boutique. I met with owner, Carolyne Murdoch on a wet and windy Scottish morning. The shop is an Aladdin’s Cave of Designer dresses, high-end High Street and Vintage wears – accessories, jewellery and more.
Carrie started her venture with Encore in 1997, when a drive with her then toddler turned from a shopping trip into a business opportunity. Her previous training and career as a nurse gave way to her passion for vintage and pre-loved fashion, sealing the deal to join forces with the small business and eventually becoming the sole proprietor just a few years later.
In the 21 years since, Carrie has seen many interesting pass through her doors; from an original 1950’s prom dress to the suit Andie McDowell wore in 4 Weddings and a Funeral. But perhaps the most exhilarating experience was when a herd of sheep took a wrong turn and flocked into her shop during the filming of “Sunset Song” in 2014!
It is clear that Carrie is not only passionate about her business but thrives in the history and the stories that wrap themselves around the many pieces of clothing, handbags and memorabilia that you can find in her delightful shop. Most of my visit was listening to the stories of past customers and amazing pieces; the elderly lady who shared her memories of an original 1930’s flapper dress being a treasured possession of her late aunt, the American who collected original Silk Dressing gowns and was delighted to find a vintage Burmese gown to take home from her travels, the Mother-of the-Bride awaiting her daughters precious day. This is the fabric of Encore’s success, the linking of old to new.
Being conscientious about environmental impact has always been important to Carrie and Encore. Nothing in the shop is wasted or bought new if it can be sourced from old. The hangers are re-used and often come from clients selling on their items, the shop fixtures and features are simple and fitting to the style of the shop – often pieces of vintage furniture that compliment the pieces for sale. They have always sourced paper bags and use ribbon and card instead of plastic tagging. In fact, the business model is so geared towards re-using and re-purposing that when we spoke about the ‘Plastic Free Community’ campaign we both struggled to find immediate changes to lessen Encores waste. Even so, Carrie is committed to reviewing her current business practise and has started spreading the word to other local businesses and encouraging her staff to think more sustainably. One small change is taking her own mug across to the Arch Cafe for her coffee instead of opting for the usual take-away cup.
It is vital that we support small businesses such as Encore. Consider the environmental impact of producing new and ‘fast fashion’ clothing (which you can read more about here) and the sheer abundance of what is already out there. Buying pre-loved, second-hand or unwanted clothing prolongs the life span of that item – making it the most ethical and sustainable choice when finding your latest fashion piece.
I am delighted to call Encore our very first ‘Zero Waste Business Hero’. It is a truly gorgeous wee shop with an amazing team and ethical principles. Of course, meaning to ‘practise what i preach’ also allowed me to purchase these very, very nice Timberland winter boots!!
Encore is open 7 days a week.
Mon – Sat 11.00 – 16.00 and Sun 14.00 – 16.00
You can even shop from the comfort of your own home as Carrie often showcases her best pieces on Facebook which you can find here.
Encore take appointments for those interested in selling. You can email or phone.