Château de Sable Blog
In November last year Chateau de sable were introduced to a lovely children’s handmade shoe company, The Little Shoes Company and their shoemaker, Nigel Bolton, based in Leicestershire. Hand cut designs and skilfully made, we knew that the range of Italian leather Ickle Pram Shoes would compliment our Chateau designs beautifully.
As the Chester Chateau team discussed styles and colourings of our pieces we unanimously selected our new pram shoes; three classic colours styled in three traditional designs. We introduced our styles in four sizes; 0M – 3M, 3M – 6M, 6M – 12M & 12M – 18M, and were delighted with the response from our customers!
With our pram shoes in high demand, we decided to reach out into hard soled first walking shoes. Same designs and of course the same shoemaker, we consulted with Nigel in regards to the best way to introduce this new collection to our Chateau collections and consulted his advice on these specialist pieces.
“The 1st walkers are made on a generous G width fitting last that has been developed specially for this age range. I designed the fit on the generous side because children’s feet at this stage of their development are quite plump and rounded and it is very important that footwear for this age group is not restrictive.”
In May 2016 we launched our Chateau shoe department in the Chester boutique. An area where our customers can bring their children ready to have their feet measured ready for their first pair of walking shoes. Offering 5 sizes from 12M – 3Y, we will advise you on the appropriate shoe size – you will even walk away with your very own Chateau shoe sticker!
We are thrilled with the response of both pram shoes and 1st walking shoes. Stay tuned for our next Chateau adventure.
We all have a favourite sweet; a classic hard boiled, a retro dolly mixture or a go to cola bottle. The same goes for a wardrobe; the trusty pair of jeans or the versatile accessory. Our latest collection has a perfect piece for every one.
Vibrancy is the key to our latest collection. Whether you choose the earthy tones of green, navy blue and taupe or the fiery red, vibrant blue and white, the finest selection of designs and colours will allow you to mix and match versatile staple pieces this coming season.
Seen throughout our Corsica capsule is a distinctive check pattern created as the primary material for our rompers, shirts and dresses or alternatively we have incorporated the check into the lining of the cotton pieces. With the feel of the light fabric and joyful colours we aim to instil this summer collection’s signature.
With all of our pieces we aim to bring you the most practical designs for your child to wear in season appropriate styles. As these pieces have been so well received in store and online, we know this will be a distinguished collection. This edit brings to you a piece for every sibling with the matching colours and design details and of course not forgetting our signature sandcastle logo!
With social calendars and children’s schedules becoming even busier we all need a little helping hand when buying a gift for a new arrival. At Chateau we have a fine selection of pieces perfect for every newborn baby. Whether it be a boy, girl or a complete surprise, we offer keepsake mementos to newborn essentials. The following guide will aim to assist you in your quest to find the perfect newborn gift.
1) What will it be?
Baby blue, pale pink or neutral white and grey, our gifts cater for all. All our gifts are presented in our branded pink, blue or grey gift boxes with matching ribbon and gift tags.
2) Keepsake mementos
Our collection of keepsakes make the ideal gift when you know the mum-to-be has been inundated with baby clothes. Pieces such as the brush and comb set can be personalised with baby’s name and special date. A photo album can be filled with memories and given as a thoughtful present or why not choose a moneybox or trio of boxes containing first curl, tooth and name tag, something that will be kept and passed down through the generations.
3) Newborn essentials
In three distinct colours pink, blue and grey, we offer a range of newborn essentials. These can be gifted as separates or combine a few special pieces into a set. A popular is our bathtime set. As bathtime is always eventful, why not help the new parents out with a matching and very practical set; hooded towel, washbag and bathmitt, all made with the softest terry towelling.
Our adorable animal comforters known as ‘dou dou’ in French are a definite winner with the new arrival, soft to touch this piece will never leave their side.
4) Too much choice?
We can all relate to having too much choice! Why not choose a Chateau de sable gift certificate? Starting at £20.00 and can be redeemed in store or via telephone, this is a great gift for new parents who know exactly what they will need.
We hope that this has given a little bit of clarity when on the hunt for the ideal gift. If you would like us to assist you, please do contact us at the Chester boutique. Happy Gifting!
Our French designer baby and childrens clothes include tasteful collections for everyday wear and elegant designs for special occasions. For variety we offer new children's clothing designs every month and only offer a limited number of each item in order to maintain exclusivity.
These collections are presented to allow siblings to coordinate while still embracing individual identity; a real bonus if you are buying for twins! Château de Sable is a perfect gift any newborn or a designer girls dress which can be sent in a beautiful gift box - anything from a complete outfit of baby clothes to a few accessory pieces.
At Château de Sable we strive to provide excellent customer service so we welcome your feedback. If you cannot find the clothes or accessories that you are looking for, or would like advice on clothing size or putting a complete outfit of clothes together, then please call or email us and we will be delighted to assist you.
Please enjoy browsing and shopping with us.
Having just got back from a quick flit to Istanbul I started to think about the different ways people shop around the world. I suppose most of the world is pretty similar with traders settings up stalls and shops to peddle their wares in return for money. Seems to work quite well.
But in Istanbul a trip to the Grand Bazaar teaches you that all is not as it seems: you have to barter. Haggling over the price is essentially such an un-British custom – we may ‘negotiate’ the price of a house or car but we generally don’t walk into high street stores and make an offer below the asking price. But in the Grand Bazaar is is expected that you will not pay full price, that when buying a carpet or bigger ticket items you will barter over sweet apple tea provided by the vendor. Once you accept this is the way, it can be a fun and entertaining experience.
But bartering wasn’t acceptable across the board and the group of back packers who tried to negotiate a deal with a busy restaurant got – understandably – short shrift!
I came home relieved that we do not have to barter with our customers – it would be exhausting!
This months window display is tennis themed with our lovely tennis clothes, lots of balls and now strawberries. Real strawberries! You can’t have tennis in England without strawberries. Lovely, ripe and juicy the boutique is filled with that a gorgeous aroma of fresh strawberries. And they have attracted so many comment from passers-by who seem to like the window and we even have had someone come in to prod them to ‘check they are real’! So in case anyone in Chester was wondering, we are not branching out into a greengrocers just taking our current window theme to its limits.
Now, how would I know that the strawberries are ripe and juicy…?!
Chester is a bustling city and shops and offices are all mixed together within the City walls. And on a hot summer day you can spy smart suited men, often briefcase in hand, walking through the city enjoying an ice cream. It always makes me smile: for all the stresses of every day, the facade of a suit and being all 'grown up' our men still enjoy the simple pleasures enjoyed as small boys. It is the mismatch of business and beach, work and play that makes me smile. It is one of our favourite sights when the sun comes out and we start to experience those lovely English summer days. Those endless perfect days we remember from our childhood..
So, the tennis has started at Wimbledon. Andy Murray finished the great British tradition of supporting the underdog by winning last year – can he do it again? And in the boutique you may find a gentle background hum of tennis commentary for the next few weeks, especially if Nicola is in.
But this year the rules are going to be strict and enforced regarding clothing – all white, no more than 1 centimetre of coloured trim and no flashy underwear – goodbye those bright orange and red shorts some women players love to wear. Has the All England Lawn Tennis Club taking hints from our collection? We’re all white with minimal trim – perfect for club, school or Wimbledon if you are that good!
We have had a day jam packed with calls from customers asking for advice on colours, sizing, delivery, matching pieces up and all sorts. It is one of the joys of working with a lovely children’s brand because many calls are about outfits for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, special family parties and lots of christenings.
We are a small team here, working closely together. Janice and Nicola are both mums so know first hand the joys of having to dress children for special occasions so that everyone is happy – parent, child and granny/bride/special someone. Whilst Emily and Lulu are not mothers yet they have great rapport with children – indeed Emily is renowned for her style advice to our older girls. Somehow when a trendy 20-something suggest an outfit it is way cooler than if mum had.
So if you are in any doubt about what you are buying – give us a call. We are here to help and are rarely defeated!
Much excitement in the shop today. Harrods – yes, The Harrods of Knightsbridge – have asked us to supply them with our Tennis Collection!
Having seen an editorial piece about our Tennis Collection in a magazine, we were contact by Harrods directly to ask if we would be interested in supplying them. Janice went off for a ‘meeting’ (which felt like being asked to see the Headmistress!) where the childrenswear buyer was charming and asked us to supply our tennis collection.
So from March, you will be able to nip into Harrods and pick up a Chateau de sable tennis dress or shorts and top. And what is so exciting for us is that now our brand is exposed to markets that we could only dream about. We may be small but it seems at least one of the bog shots wants to play with us!
Working in retail gives you an interesting perspective on people. Since we opened we have made many new friends – we talk of our loyal customers as ‘friends of the shop’. We’ve dressed some children since birth, through toddling, and now as they grow up. It is a true privilege to be watching so many little ones grow.
And we have heard some stories! Oh my! Sad stories, outrageous tales, hair-stand-on-end revelations. Is it because we are not part of family or social circle? Because we are slightly anonymous, without judgement? Sometimes it feels like we are verging on a counselling service! And some customers in the boutique obviously don’t want interaction and conversation. They wish to shop alone and are happy to do so. We respect that.
But there is a middle ground which can be frustrating. The painfully polite customer. Now, we are all for good manners in our shop but sometimes we need to be told the truth:
I don’t like that!
We want to hear if you don’t like that colour or style or neckline or material or price! Because if you don’t we can probably find you an alternative; something you will like! Remember, all of us at Chateau de sable know the collections inside out. We know the current collection, past collections and future collections. We know what is coming in next week or next month. We know if an online exclusive is shortly coming into the boutique. Colour not right? If we don’t have all the colours in the shop we will still know all the colours that a piece comes in. Wrong sleeve length? We know if a top is also available in short sleeves or long sleeves or both!
The most frustrating comment for us is the one that is appreciative and dismissive without specifics. It’s nice but not right. So tell us! We won’t cry, have a tantrum or throw you from the shop if you say you really didn’t want to buy pink for a baby girl or you think that a jumper is too chunky. Tell us and we can point you in the right direction! But we can only help if you ask – and that is true of online shopping too! Ask us about sizing if you are unsure. Need to check is colours will mix and match OK – we are at the end of the ‘phone or drop us an email.
So please, tell us the truth!
It is freezing. There is a biting wind, it is all a bit grey outside and there is that ‘post-Christmas down’ feeling in the air. Everyone in the shop is in chunky woollens and thick tights. Ahead is an evening where we will walk home briskly and hope that the heating and lights are on when we get home!
So what are we doing in the office? We are pouring over the new Chateau de Sable Spring/Summer catalogue that has just arrived. Catalogue may be too grand a title but this is the first look we have to see what our designers have in store for us in the coming season. The designers send us the book with sketches, fabric swatches and a little detail about each piece so we can begin to get a feel for the collection.
Immediately we can see some absolute winners – those pieces that will fly out – whether through the door or via the post. We all are delighted to see new colours coming in – orange makes a debut this season. Swatches reveal cool Liberty cottons and crisp linens. Colours are fresh and many set off against cool white. We all fall in delight over the chic navy and nautical stripes heading our way. There are some smart checks too and we are all trying to think of the name for the white linen dress we just know will be The Dress for communions and flower girls.
And so our conversation turns to beaches and long hot summer days. We talk of shorts and short sleeves, light cotton cardigans, sun hats, beachwear whilst outside people hurry, muffled up in hats and scarves hoping that the rumour of snow coming is false.
Many of our customers who pay is a visit can’t believe that the only branch of Chateau de sable is in the stunning, historic city of Chester. Almost once a week someone will come in and swear that they have seen us somewhere else – Bath, London, York? But no, we are the only Chateau de Sable shop in the UK. Sometimes further investigation reveals that they have seen another Chateau de Sable shop but it was in Singapore or Paris.
Why Chester? Well, when Janice relocated back from Singapore to the UK – bringing Chateau de sable with her – the family decided to settle back in the north west and Chester was a great option. And as the business opened and expanded others from Chester came to join her – though precious few are natives!
For those who do not know Chester it is an interesting city with massive historical importance – we are completely walled and have a Roman amphitheatre. The city centre is characterised by ‘The Rows’ which is effectively multi-story shopping from the past. Our charming shop sits on Watergate Street which is the ‘Independent Quarter’ with lots of little interesting shops and boutiques. Chester has an abundance of great independent cafes and restaurants so there is always somewhere to recover from the shopping!