Wonderful Ladies Lifestyle Fashions crack
Having lived in Cheltenham all my life, I can clearly remember when Cousins of Cheltenham was trading in leather goods and repair work from the High Street. 30 years on and it has become a unique business standing the test of time situated in the heart of Montpellier. In fact Cousins, which sells ‘wonderful ladies lifestyle fashions’, providing quality at a fair price, moved to Montpellier 25 years ago when Alan and Anne Cousins took the shop over from Alan’s father, who had taken it over from his father.
‘Fashion in Montpellier,’ Alan told me, ‘Seemed a lot more buoyant,’ and he and Anne were able to carve out a little niche for themselves in between the chain stores and top designer outlets, neither inexpensive, nor too expensive. This suits their customers and they now have a considerable following. Their customer base is anywhere between 25 and 75 years old.
In addition to the shop, Cousins has a presence at 10 outdoor country pursuits’ venues, including Burghley Horse Trials, Cheltenham Gold Cup, Badminton Horse Trials and the CLA Game Fair. Many of their new customers from these shows come all the way to Cheltenham to shop at the Montpellier store, so they know that the choice to move here was the right one.
‘The business,’ said Alan, ‘Has been a great friend, the rewards of which have given us a wonderful lifestyle over the years for which we are truly grateful.’
At some stage all three of their grown up daughters have worked in the business, but have eventually gone their own way. Now Alan and Anne have both reached sixty, sometime in the not too distant future, the legendary Cousins of Cheltenham will be on the market. ‘I still have many ideas to take the business forward,’ he continued, ‘I am just not sure I’ve got the energy. Playing golf, swimming and relaxing sounds like much more fun.’
If you have never visited the shop, which is much larger than I expected and resides on two floors, there is a lot to see, from outfits for special occasions, such as christenings, wedding anniversaries or a day at the races, to something new for a party or a gift for someone special.
Cousins of Cheltenham boasts its own label, the Cousins tweed fashion collection, using fabric produced in UK mills in both Scotland and Huddersfield; the clothes are then manufactured in Europe exclusively for them. They also stock their own range of shoes, as well as Italian shoes by Riva.
As I wandered around the store, browsing the tops, skirts, trousers, hats, scarves and jewellery, I was particularly struck by the texture of the fabrics, as well as the use of velvet and animal prints and a lot of faux fur trim and shearling gilets and capes. But the one clothing range that struck me the most was the Michele Magic jeans range, which according to the label ‘Flatten your tum and shape your bum.’ You need to buy a smaller size, the sales assistant told me and they will actually make you look a whole size smaller. A lady was trying on a black pair at the time and they certainly looked good.
Other brands you will find at Cousins include Betty Barclay trousers, tops and jackets, Steilmann, Marona, Olsen, Erfo blouses, Rofa coats, Fenn Wright Manson, Gardeur and Joseph Ribkoff, which is one of their best selling lines and has an area at one end of the upstairs department dedicated to it.
Cousins is located at:
10/11 Montpellier Walk
Tel: 01242 583983
And the website is at: www.cousinsofcheltenham.co.uk