Ever wondered where you can buy Spell and the Gypsy Collective in the UK? If you have, you should definitely check out Nepenthe! The online destination for boho gypset threads operates from the North of England, meaning you can shop straight them instead of having to fork out for costly custom fees when you buy from your favourite US and Australian bohemian fashion brands directly.
Nepenthe has your gyspy shopping covered, stocking boho beautiful brands such as For Love and Lemons, Arnhem, and Mate. What to learn more? Sana from Nepenthe tells us more about her shop in our Q&A interview below.
Where are you based? Does your location inspire your store?
We are an online only store based in Newcastle Upon Tyne who ship worldwide. As we stock American and Australian brands that have a beach aesthetic it can be difficult to relate this to the North of England, but we love finding ways to style the clothes to suit our cooler climes and we love the contrast the clothes can have in a UK setting, you often see the brands on Instagram and they are generally in a warm exotic location – whilst we love these shots, it is great to style them in different locations, this gives the outfit a totally new perspective.
Where did the name come from?
The name nepenthe came from a road trip I took a few years ago, myself and some friends hired an RV and toured around California, whilst travelling down highway 1 we stopped at a café, perched atop a Cliffside with the most amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, the café is steeped in history and has a real rock star past, that café is called Nepenthe. Whilst we were discussing potential names for the business, I threw nepenthe into the mix and for everyone it instantly felt right, when we researched the meaning of the name it seemed like it was meant to be. Nepenthe means “an elixir inducing pleasurable dreaminess”. To us fashion is the elixir.
Is it tough working with your sister? Who does what in your online boutique?
We are a family business and this can have its pros and a lot of cons, the biggest pro I would say is our commitment to nepenthe – we are both so in love with the business and thus so committed to its success. Being sisters though means that we don’t have that work/life divide so if we’re on a family holiday or out for a meal we are still talking about business. Being sisters, we also don’t have a stop button so when we disagree on something our discussions can get a little heated! However I think most sisters can be arguing one minute and best of friends the next. Thankfully my sister is a great mediator and can diffuse any heated situation. We tend to share the roles, as we both like to have an understanding of the full nepenthe operation, but predominantly my sister Kyla handles the accounts and marketing side of the business and I handle the website updates and communications. When it comes to choosing the clothes for the site we both do, we choose anything that we both love, if one of us doesn’t love it – we don’t get it!
In your opinion, where is your number one boho fashion destination?
It is very tough to pick just one boho fashion destination as there are so many pockets of the world that have their own boho style and take on what boho means, I can’t talk about these destinations without mentioning Byron Bay, home to two of our favourite brands Spell and the Gypsy and Arnhem, Byron is an amazing place with such a small population, it is so exciting from a fashion point of view as it houses so many amazing brands, these brands are often the first entrance to boho fashion for many people, our customers will often discover a brand such as Arnhem and then unearth so many more boho labels because of this.
Whilst Byron is quite well known, if you wanted to go a little off the beaten track I would also suggest Caraiva in Brazil as an amazing fashion destination, Brazil is having a real moment right now and the designs coming from there are so innovative and fresh, Caraiva is a small fishing enclave about 1 hour away from gypset Trancoso, you can only access this island by a locals boat, on the island there are so many craftsmen making clothing and accessories that are truly one of a kind, ranging from macramé bags to indigenous tribe jewellery – all of it is gorgeous.
What do you look for when you’re looking to stock new brands?
When we initially started new brands we were so eager to get brands on board we were purchasing from many different brands although mostly boho brands but some street luxe brands and some higher fashion brands, as time went on we realised our customer base are predominantly shopping with us for bohemian gypset brands and we began to streamline the clothing styles we offer. When we search for new brands to stock we initially look for a boho vibe to the clothing, secondly myself and my sister have to love a lot of the designs and the price point has to be right. Once we are interested we then like to learn a little more about the history of each brand as we find not only to our customers buy into the clothing but they also love to buy into the ethos behind the designs and the background of each piece, if it ticks all the boxes then we go for it!
What does the future hold for Nepenthe?
Looking towards the future our main goals are to increase awareness of nepenthe and increase our brand offering, we are always on the look out for new brands and we get a lot of recommendations from our amazing clients. Although we are an online store we would love to open some pop up shops and are currently looking at locations. It would be amazing to meet our clients face to face and hear what they think when they see, feel and try on the clothes.