It’s actually been quite a while since I strolled into the beautiful shop that is Joie de Vivre in the Royal Arcade. I’d first noticed the shop back in April when it was still a work in progress. Gazing through the windows as the shop took shape, I knew it would be a place that I’d want to photograph as soon as possible.
I contacted the lovely owners Kat and Belinda who welcomed me into their shop to tell me a little bit about its history. Although it’s new to its current premises, it’s not the first version of Joie de Vivre to make an appearance in the arcades. Having changed location several times, it used to be found in the current Vom Fass store, while at Christmas it found a temporary home in the High Street Arcade.
Kat told me that they prefer to have the shop in the Royal Arcade, due not only to the greater footfall the arcade receives as a result of being a passageway between St Mary Street and the Hayes, but also because she feels that the shop fits in a lot better there. When you consider that other shops including Rossiter’s and Saswa are just a few doors away you can see what she means.
For those unfamiliar with the shop, vintage bits and pieces can be found upstairs, while modern paraphernalia is downstairs. Upstairs you’ll find a cornucopia of delights guaranteed to catch the eye of every vintage magpie. So, whether you’re in the mood for an old fashioned teacup or a gorgeous 1950s wardrobe, if you’re lucky you might just find it here. Not only that but I also spotted some wonderful modern teacups, nay, art pieces that I absolutely loved.
Head back downstairs and you’ll find the home of Fripp, Belinda’s own jewellery company range. She imports the jewellery from continental Europe after having spent some time living there and realising that UK jewellery just wasn’t up to scratch. Specialising in chunky costume pieces, you certainly won’t find any delicate trinkets.
Meanwhile, Kat’s speciality is children’s books – with a treasure trove of reading delights lining the back wall. Kat’s an ambassador for Barefoot Books, a publishing company that was set up in 1992 by two mothers dissatisfied with the lack of colourful and inspiring children’s books on the market.
The rest of the shop is a bit of a mixture of everything, looking for a gorgeous gift or something for your house – you’ll probably find it here. They’re always on the lookout for interesting designers, suppliers and independent companies, so the chances are you’ll find something just a little bit special tucked away in one of the shop’s corners.
Joie de Vivre is the kind of place where I could probably take a million pictures, but you’ll have to make do with the few you see here. As ever, comments, questions, thoughts and more always welcome.
Don’t forget, if you’d like to buy any of these photographs as prints, visit the online shop to find out more information.