This morning, the first Urban Outfitters store in Wales opened in our very own city of Cardiff. I admit I did get quite excited as soon as it was announced. I will confess at this point that I have never actually made a purchase in an Urban Outfitters store, but I love wandering round and looking at all the creative things they stock that I would buy if I had endless disposable income. Their stores are always a visual treat, with wonderful interior design and planning.
Queuing outside new shops isn’t something I do habitually, but as my office is less than a minute’s walk from the new shop, I decided to make an exception this time. They announced on their Facebook page that it would be opening at 10am, so I took an early lunch break and set off at 9.57. There was one other person there, so together we waited.
Soon enough it was 5 past 10, then 10 past. Eventually one of the staff came to the door to tell us it would be another 15 minutes. I considered going back to work, but figured that if I’d been there 15 minutes I may as well stick it for the duration. Sure enough, 15 cold minutes later they opened the doors.
In I wandered, wide eyed. The staff were very welcoming but there was not a gift or freebie in sight. I know it’s rude to expect gifts, but generally at the ‘grand’ opening of such a high-profile shop one might at least be given a discount voucher as a reward for waiting outside.
Nevertheless the store did not disappoint. It’s an absolutely huge shop unit, large amounts of the old David Morgan store, at the site that used to be Borders. The construction of the building means that natural room-like areas are created. They’ve used this really well in the decor by putting each collection in a different part.
As well as creative outfit presentation, they have all sorts of quirky accessories and plants around each display which really adds to the experience of walking around the store.
I really enjoyed the way that it’s all a bit of a cross between a funky city loft and a department store. The fitting rooms look a lot like a living room, with sofas and reading material. Perhaps unnecessary but it is a really clever use of a big space that maintains a purpose.
My favourite ‘room’ area could probably be described as a reading room. This is the sort of unique idea that a smaller shop unit just wouldn’t be able to accommodate, so it’s lovely and different. It also houses one of two iMacs that are available for browsing the Urban Outfitters website.
As you may have read in other places, the store will also be used to showcase the work of local artists. I hope to see lots of this as it becomes established.
I was very well behaved and managed to return having not blown my entire month’s salary on pretty things, but I did really enjoy the experience. I can see it being the sort of place that people go to enjoy rather than just shop. It’s almost a shame there is no coffee bar in there, they’d have me converted in no time!