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Nairn pre-loved fashion shop is a sanctuary for connection

By Rachel Smart

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Dawn Bartlett, owner. Picture: James Mackenzie
Dawn Bartlett, owner. Picture: James Mackenzie

Nestled on the High Street of Nairn, Daisy and Stanley is more than just a shop—it's a sanctuary. Dawn Bartlett (57) opened this unique business with a heartfelt mission: to provide a safe and therapeutic space for women using preloved clothes as a medium for healing and self-expression.

Having moved to Nairn from London, after caring for her father, she was inspired to create something meaningful with the legacy he left her.

She says: "My dad left me some money, and I wanted to use it to do something that would help others."

Dawn's journey to opening Daisy and Stanley wasn't straightforward.

"We got the lease in July last year and did pop-ups to see what it was like. It was a huge learning curve and there has been a lot of mistakes I’ve made a long the way.”

Despite the challenges, Dawn's background in marketing and PR, fashion research and her passion for clothes helped her curate a diverse collection of high-quality, preloved items.

Everything in the shop has been pre-loved. Picture: James Mackenzie
Everything in the shop has been pre-loved. Picture: James Mackenzie

She says: "I am a woman over 50 and your body changes a lot. I wanted to provide a safe place for women to find clothes they feel good in and that are fashionable!

“If someone comes in, we want them to leave the shop feeling good and empowered.

“I get a lot of stuff sent up from London, so we have a huge selection of brands that you might not be able to get up here.”

The shop is not only a testament to Dawn's dedication but also a product of community effort.

"A lot of friends and volunteers donated clothes at the beginning, and that was amazing. When we told people what we were doing, we had a lot of customers starting to donate clothes too," she explains.

Shoes inside the shop. Picture: James Mackenzie
Shoes inside the shop. Picture: James Mackenzie

Daisy and Stanley operate as a community interest company, ensuring all profits go back into the business to further support its mission.

Dawn emphasises the cyclical nature of their approach: "It’s all preloved—they say most women only wear 20 percent of their wardrobe, so we get a lot of women coming in and giving us stuff that they’ve never worn.

People can donate pre-loved clothes. Picture: James Mackenzie
People can donate pre-loved clothes. Picture: James Mackenzie

“We wanted it to be a cycle of giving to charity, so we bought the paint from New Start, got a lot of stuff from Moray Wastebusters, and then if we have clothes which have been on the shop floor for a while, we donate them to Women’s Aid. It’s a constant flow of support going to women."

Dawn is full-time in the shop and has two volunteers that help her. They ensure that they have something for everyone — and if a customer is looking for something in particular, they’ll get it in for them.

There is something for everyone. Picture: James Mackenzie
There is something for everyone. Picture: James Mackenzie

Dawn's personal experiences have profoundly influenced the shop's creation and atmosphere.

She explains: "When my dad died, I fell into a big depression and got myself a job working in the library. It was only a part-time thing, and I was trying to think up an idea. This just came together through various conversations I was having with people.

“This place has been so helpful for me. I have been able to talk about grief and loss and find support with others.”

The impact of Daisy and Stanley extends beyond just selling clothes. It has become a place of connection and support for many.

Dawn continues: “When others come in here now and open up, it’s a place of thought-exchange and connection. People share with each other books that they’ve read, podcasts they’ve listened to and we all help each other.

"People always open up and tell us personal stories, and usually, a lot of them become friends. This is a safe space that’s non-judgemental. It’s an uplifting place; there are tears and happiness."

Linda Golden strikes a pose. Picture: James Mackenzie
Linda Golden strikes a pose. Picture: James Mackenzie

Linda Golden (61), a volunteer who began in February, shares her story: "I had been caring for my mother and would come into the shop a lot.

“She passed away at the end of November, and when I felt better, I came and volunteered. It’s really helped me—so many people feel the same. I had so much time on my hands when she passed away. The shop has been so helpful for me."

In a world where fast fashion dominates, Daisy and Stanley stands as a beacon of sustainable practices and community spirit. "I’ve learned so much about business and made many mistakes, but in my life, I’ve learned more from my mistakes than from my successes," Dawn reflects.

“This has always been a joint endeavour that everyone can benefit from; from our volunteers to our customers. I wanted to bring all I had learned in my career in London and create a shop that I wish existed."

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