When it comes to finding unique clothing, jewellery or even a gift, there’s no better shopping experience than an off-radar boutique. And luckily for us, East Lothian has some of the best. Kim Williams discovers the soon to be re-branded Secret Boutique.
From identikit high-street chains to browsing online from the sofa, shopping for clothes can feel at best impersonal and at worst homogeneous. It’s hard to know where to find something unique. Where does one go for the off-the-beaten-path treasures? Some friends may share their secret locations with you, places they love and can’t live without, but many prefer to keep their secret to themselves. It was exactly this behaviour which inspired renaming Gullane’s well-known Merry Go Round to Secret Boutique. Owner Elaine Ramanauskus explains “I’d often heard regular customers telling a friend they’d brought along to the shop – this is my secret, my secret boutique.”
Merry Go Round was opened in 2005 by Elaine and quickly became known for its gorgeous range of designer childrens and babies clothing and accessories. In 2011, Elaine introduced a small range of ladies clothing from well-known British brand, Joules. With its distinctive British country influence, the clothing sold well and over the years Elaine has increased her range of ladies’ clothing and accessories. All of the brands are carefully chosen by Elaine, from known and trusted brands such as Joules and Geox, famous for its footwear and good quality coats, to brands not previously seen before in Scotland, such as Lithuanian brand Lulu et Tu. Elaine laughs “They approached me, speaking Lithuanian, at a trade show because my name is Ramanauskus. I didn’t understand a word but I loved their dresses!”
European brands Fransa and B Young with their casual, classic but modern styling have been very popular. Elaine explains “They’re suitable for all ages and you can buy anything from a basic white shirt to a gorgeous lace top and what’s more they’re really affordable.” Elaine is quick to point out that the re-branding of Merry Go Round does not mean the end to her childrenswear range. “I just felt the name no longer reflected what I sell, but what I sell will remain the same!” Classic children’s clothing from the likes of Weekend a La Mer, Absorba, Kissy Kissy and Hatley sit side by side with some quirky alternatives. Fleeces made from recycled water bottles by organic clothing brand Kite, and Cheeky Chompers dribble bibs, the brainchild of two Edinburgh mothers.
Secret Boutique is constantly bringing in new stock from ‘secret’ brands, making sure it’s always filled to the brim with unique pieces. They are one of the only Scottish stockists of Canadian brand, Hatley. Known for its colourful print rainwear and children’s clothing, they also produce a stunning range of t-shirt dresses, perfect for summer. Each year Elaine introduces new brands which you would be hard pushed to find on the high street. Clothing from high-fashion brand FRNCH or the gorgeous Lulu et Tu will have your friends asking where you bought your outfit from. It’s up to you, whether you pass on the secret.
Main street, Gullane EH31 2AP | t: 01620 842 222
Open: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm