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We talk with Debbie from Belle la Vie, an independent lifestyle shop in Belper.

Tell us a little bit about Belle la Vie?

Belle la Vie is a lifestyle shop in the heart of Belper, a historic market town in Derbyshire. Belle La Vie means beautiful life and we aim to stock wonderful things to make your life beautiful!

We have 3 floors full of ladies clothing, gifts, children’s clothing and home wear including candles and body and bath products. We are a mini department store!

What inspire you when you design your shop window? do you have any blogs, magazines or shops that you use for inspiration?

Our window display ideas come from all sorts of inspirations. I travel quite a bit and I’ve always had my camera on me. I love to visit cities and see the larger stores window designs particularly Fortnum and Mason to see their magnificent designs.

I also take inspiration from trade fairs and begin to create designs in my head when I see and buy a particular product which I think would make an amazing centrepiece. I will then build the design around that centrepiece. We currently have a unicorn in our window and that was the base for the current design. I also like to look in junk shops to see if I can find an unusual item to put in the window to base a design around.

I take inspiration from trends, particularly as we stock fashion. I might use the latest on-trend colour as inspiration or latest clothing design such as a stripe or paisley etc. Instagram and Pinterest are also huge inspirations for me.

I have a background in interior design and I also read interior magazines which inspire me in all sorts of ways. The changing seasons help to coordinate designs, such as Autumn/winter etc and occasions such as Easter/valentine etc. Christmas is always a showcase at the end of the year and one of my favourite windows to design

What are the most important things to consider when you are planning a shop window? 

Because we sell such a variety of products and have quite small windows it can be challenging to design a window to best reflect what we sell and at the same time be arty and eye-catching.

It has been confusing for customers in the past as sometimes they are unsure what our shop actually is but I believe the main purpose of the window is to catch people’s attention and draw them into the shop. We don’t like to clutter our windows too much which can be difficult when you sell so many items but the key to that is to change the windows often.

We change our mannequins twice a week sometimes and we always like to coordinate the gifts and homeware with the clothing so quite often the clothing style/colour is the inspiration for the rest of the window. It is often advised to have a backdrop to the window but we prefer not to as we like the customers to be able to see into the shop hoping what they see will tempt them in.

So we hope the window display will catch their attention and by drawing the customer to the window, what they then see inside draws them through the door 

Do you need a big budget to design a compelling show window? 

You do not need a large budget to come up with a fantastic window. It’s amazing what you can do with clear twine, magnets and a bit of imagination!! Hobbycraft is a great place to pick up creative bits and bobs too! 

Where can we find out more about Belle la Vie?

For further information about Belle La Vie visit us at 23 King St, Belper, Derbyshire or visit us on Facebook & Instagram.

Our website is currently under construction