Meet the owners
Meet Amanda and Mark
From vibrant dresses and elegant jewellery to quirky accessories and gifts, you’ll findit all at Lilac Rose in Cambridge
Step off Cambridge’s bustling Bridge Street into vibrant treasure trove, Lilac Rose, and you can’t help but emit an audible ‘whoop’. A feast for the eyes, the independent fashion boutique has floor-to-ceiling wow-factor, from its dazzling displays of carefully curated jewellery to an abundance of colour-popping bags, an array of cool-as-a-cucumber sunglasses to rails of divine dresses.
It’s 10 years since owners Amanda and Mark Sinclair launched the Cambridge store, but their passion for tracking down eye-catching products is as fervent as ever. “We wanted the shop to be the equivalent of a woman’s toy shop in a way. So, you walk in and there’s so much to see, it’s exciting. I still step in and feel excited about everything I see today!” enthuses Amanda. “We also wanted people to be able to enjoy browsing, and find something new every week, so we keep the stock fresh.”
The Sinclairs launched Lilac Rose in 2005, with their first boutique in Leamington Spa. Frustrated by the lack of indie clothes shops, they hoped to bring a little theatre and fun to the High Street. Mission accomplished in Warwickshire, they decided to spread the love to Cambridge, attracted by the city’s unique shopping demographic.
“We were looking for somewhere with a cross-section of people, so Cambridge was perfect with its mix of tourists, students and locals. We also felt that there wasn’t anything like us in Cambridge, so there was a gap in the market,” Amanda says. Lilac Rose’s eclectic range of chic dresses, including signature brands Louche, Emily and Fin and Sugarhill, are particularly popular with discerning fashionistas.
“We are passionate about finding flattering fits, vibrant colours and lovely prints. In 10 years, I think I’ve only sold about three black dresses because colour is so important,” says Amanda. “It’s all about shape, cut, how well it is made, and the pricepoint is from £45 to around £120. We have exclusivity to Cambridge on all our brands too, so you don’t have to worry about walking down the street and seeing someone else wearing the same dress.” The jewellery range is a sensational selection of everyday wear, from designers such as Estella Bartlett, which is very wearable and looks fantastic layered – alongside opulent occasion, jewelled statement pieces, with a distinct vintage vibe.
“One of my current favourites is an amazing Spanish brand Soruka,” Amanda says. “All the pieces are made from recycled leather that would otherwise have been clogging up landfill. It’s so unique and comes in great colours.”
The accessories offering spans wallets, purses, hats, gloves, headbands and handy travel accessories, with striking design a key component. “We are loving Elizabeth Scarlett’s beauty bags, travel pouches and make-up bags, which are hand embroidered with gold thread, and come in really beautiful colours, with flamingo and tiger designs,” explains Amanda. “She’s getting really well known on Instagram right now. They’re amazing and look incredible on our shelves.”
Lilac Rose continued to trade online during lockdown, but reopening the shop doors in April was sheer joy, Amanda says: “It was just incredible! I didn’t realise just how much I’d missed it. All our customers have been so excited; it’s felt like Christmas Day every day that we’ve been open!”
The Cambridge store has been restocked from scratch, with products exuding a much-needed summer holiday vibe.
“There’s big bright hoop earrings threaded with colourful orange and turquoise beads that have a real St Tropez feel,
and would team perfectly with a sarong. Our lovely cactus-print maxi dress, with cut-out back, has been a bestseller, as have our jumpsuits and sunglasses,” says Amanda. “It feels like after going through a pandemic, people are ready to treat themselves right now, which is lovely.”
Lilac Rose is at 71 Bridge Street, Cambridge. Visit lilacrose.co.uk
Love Cambridge are working with Velvet Magazine to showcase some of Cambridge’s best independent businesses, read their latest issue for more local interviews like this one.
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