The Shop, Delhi

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The Shop, Delhi

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Review of "The Shop, Delhi"

published 23/01/2015 | koshkha
Member since : 26/12/2005
Reviews : 1434
Members who trust : 327
About me :
I've been here a very long time and even though I've been dormant the last year, I will miss Ciao enormously.
Excellent
Pro Fantastic service, lovely products, great prices
Cons It's a long way to go to buy more
very helpful
Prices
Is it worth visiting?
Transport links
Family Friendly

"The Shop is my Favourite Shop in Delhi"

Finding the will to shop at ‘the Shop’


I first discovered ‘The Shop’ in Delhi five years ago and each time I’ve been back to Delhi since then, I’ve hunted it down. That might sound like a strange thing to say, but believe me, trying to find a place called ‘The Shop’ in the centre of a city like this is not easy. You can’t stop people on the street and ask them the way - they’ll always try to take you to a completely different shop instead. I know better than to ask.

After three or four visits, I’m now pretty confident to find it. I walk around the inner circle of the ‘double doughnut’ of Connaught Place, New Delhi’s main tourist hub and I know that if I walk anti-clockwise, when I reach the point at which the inner donut breaks (for the underground Palika Bazaar market), I need to transfer out to the outer donut, walk a little further around the circle and eventually I’m in the right place. If you get REALLY lost, ask for directions to the Regal Building - just don’t ask for ‘The Shop’.

The first time I went to this place we just got lucky and stumbled across it. Now it’s a place I plan time to visit - sometimes lots of time. On that first visit I bought a beautiful and very individual necklace in black silver and rutilated quartz. It’s a real conversation piece. I also bought some glycerine soaps, some small items of pottery from a pottery we’ve been trying to visit for years down in Pondicherry, and a hippo in very smart pyjamas. We were also lucky enough the year after to turn up during their annual sale which was held in a shop a few doors further along the building. We went crazy on that occasion. The Shop has a place in my memory because I wore one of their lightweight dressing gowns for both my operations when I had cancer - it kept a piece of India by my side.

So what do they sell?


The product range at The Shop is quite similar to the product range of a much more well known chain of stores called Fab India - but the products are much less expensive. Fab India is omnipresent in Indian cities and sells a wide range of clothing, bedding, household goodies, toiletries and soaps, and jewellery. The Shop has very similar items but - arguably - better quality. What sets the place apart from Fab India for me, is the personal service, the staff who will unfold and refold for hours at a time until you find what you want. Exactly what you want.

The Shop has just three stores and a thriving online mail order business. The main shop is the one I visited but they have another in Delhi in Noida, out in the suburbs, and one in Mumbai. It’s a family run business with a leaning towards organic materials where possible and the products are main in a workshop with lots of space and natural light - no pokey little dark sweatshops are used. They develop all the fabric designs themselves and use both block and screen printing and their products can be found all over the world (or so they say on their website). They offer tours of their factory and I would be really keen to go and have a look next time I’m in Delhi for a few days.

In Store Experience


Entering the store you’re in a very ‘textural’ world. The furniture is dark wood, the products are piled high in an explosion of colours. Small glass fronted cabinets lure you in with the goodies hidden away inside. The ground floor has an atrium effect with part of the upper floor arranged like a balcony around the edge. That first part of the store is where you’ll find household fabrics - curtains, bed spreads, table-cloths, pillow cases and cushions. Many are in block-printed cottons, some are more sparkly and glittery. The back part of the downstairs has jewellery, toiletries, ceramics and other tempting things and there’s a small wooden staircase at the back which takes you up to the upper floor.

The upper floor has a children’s section at the back of the store with all sorts of clothes and toys. My dressed hippo came from that section and was only a pound or two. The front of the upper floor has the clothing section and it’s exceptional.

Releasing my inner shopper


Whenever I go to India I am surprised by the weather. I think I’ve packed all my lightest clothes and then I step out of the hotel and realise I’ve got it completely wrong. I NEED lighter weight clothing but when it’s scorching hot I’m not in the mood to start taking my clothes on and off to try things on. At The Shop, the assistant had me in and out of the changing room trying all sorts of things I’d never have imagined for well over an hour. As far as she was concerned, she’d stay all day and all night to make sure I got what I wanted.

It started innocuously enough. I was sorting through the tops on one of the shelves and she urged me to take a chair and sit down so I could really get stuck in. She also reassured me that she didn’t want me to refold stuff - just put it to one side and she’d do it later. I asked her what size I should go for and she told me - perhaps a little too directly - “Madame in MY store you are an XL, maybe just an L in others!” This didn’t surprise me. The Indian body shape is not like mine. They tend to be small on top and have big bottoms - the upside down of me - so I always need larger tops in Indian shops. If you’re offended that a UK size 14 is XL then I suggest you don’t shop for clothes in India.

I thought I wanted short kurta tops - long or half sleeve and roughly ‘bum length’ or slightly shorter. I’m always thinking about whether what I buy can be worn back home without looking too ridiculous but she quickly got me out of that mindset and into the small changing room. She sat my poor husband on a comfy chair and chatted to him as I ran back and forth trying on just about every sort of top in the shop - long, short, full arms, no arms, weird necklines, strange ugly dresses, honestly just about everything.

I had said ‘no sleeveless’ but next thing I knew she was telling me “Madame has such slim arms’ and I was trying on - and even buying - sleeveless tops. I must have spent an hour and a half, regularly topped up with paper cups of mineral water when I started to flag. Hubby wasn’t bored because she was chatting away to him. He even eyed up some pyjamas and some boy-tops but wasn’t tempted to fight me for the space in the changing room.

The assistant was far and away the best I've come across in any shop in India. She was very direct, told me straight if she thought a top looked bad or was too tight, ploughed through hundreds to find me everything she could, chatted away like a friend, dispensed the wisdom of her 67 years and kept us entertained and engaged throughout. There was no hard sell, no pressure of any kind, and she was willing to spend however long it took to make sure I got what I wanted. She was absolutely exceptional.

In total I walked away with nine items - only one of which was for a friend. The rest were my instant India wardrobe. I realised I could stop worrying over whether it would be OK to wear at home and decided this would be my wardrobe for India visits for years to come. I had knee length tops, so-called beach dresses, shorter more UK-friendly ones, and everything in between in such an amazing array of fabrics. I’m impressed by the quality of the ‘finishing’ of the tops - there are no rough seams, they take care to put pockets cleverly hidden away in seams and if I had paid more attention in sewing classes at school (I think we made a plastic apron and that was about the extent of my sewing) I would have all the terminology to explain that everything is tidied up nicely inside as well as on the outside.

My total spend - including the gift for my friend and a few soaps and nick nacks, was around £80. Most of the shirts were less than £10, some as little as £5 or £6 and all a lot cheaper than they would have been in Fab India.

Details


The Shop (Delhi)
10, Regal Building
Parliament Street
New Delhi – 110001
Email:info@theshopindia.com
Timings: Monday to Saturday 10 am to 7.30 pm

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 05/02/2015
    e :o)
  • Secre published 26/01/2015
    Unlikely to be in India, but this does sound like excellent customer service.
  • StewwyB published 25/01/2015
    Great review, E
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Product Information : The Shop, Delhi

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Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 04/01/2015