'We believe in female empowerment' - take a look inside new Chesterfield gift shop of girl power

“Me and my mum get on so well. We laugh, we cry, we cause mischief. We’re like best friends. We’re so glad that now we’re in it together.”
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Saffy Kendall-Allen and her mum Cheryl Knowles run the new indie shop in Chesterfield, Eclectic Delights of Serendipity. The shop, Saffy describes as “An Aladdin’s cave of everything. It’s such a wide and varied range of things that you never knew you needed in your life.”

From jewellery to spirit balls. From wax melts to wooden ducks. From handbags to mystic crystals. Eclectic certainly fits. “It was my mum’s dream to begin with, and now it’s become my dream. We just keep growing and growing together,” says Saffy with a smile.

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“I love coming to work. I love opening the door. I love seeing customers coming in.” In the window, Saffy’s shop-assistant Brittany Mills dresses scarves on George the Giraffe. Behind the counter, Kai the shop-dog lets out a little bark as the shop door opens.

Saffy, Kai and Britt at Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, ChesterfieldSaffy, Kai and Britt at Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, Chesterfield
Saffy, Kai and Britt at Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, Chesterfield

Saffy’s mum isn’t in today, and when asked how they would describe each other, Saffy laughs.

“So, I was originally named after the Mellow Yellow song, but I don’t know if you’ve seen Absolutely Fabulous? I’m actually named after Saffron. I’m very sensible, I’m ‘Right, this needs doing’. I’m very organised.”

“Mum is Patsy. She’s as crazy as the wind, but she’s fantastic. She is the spontaneous. She’s wild at heart. I keep her feet on the ground when they need to be, but she boosts me to the sky when I need it.”

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Saffy tells the story of the shop, their journey to where they are now on the Chesterfield High Street.

Inside Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, ChesterfieldInside Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, Chesterfield
Inside Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, Chesterfield

“It began nine years ago. My mum opened a teeny-tiny little shop off Newbold Road. We used to laugh, because I’d moved into a little house and two doors down, she went ‘Ooh, there’s a shop for sale down there!”. And I was like “Sure, why not Mum”.

Saffy laughs, tells of then moving to another shop in Hope Valley, and then to Matlock Bath. And then “After five years, the lease came to an end and we decided ‘Why not a town centre? Let’s go back to our roots.’ So we decided… come back to Chesterfield.”

“It was so weird how this came about. We were looking at other properties, and this appeared. We came in and fell in love with it. Three weeks later we were in, and ready for business.”

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Saffy stops to laugh again. “Me and my mum, when we’re determined, we’re determined. She could rule the world if she planned to, my mother.”

Saffy at Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, ChesterfieldSaffy at Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, Chesterfield
Saffy at Eclectic Delights of Serendipity, Chesterfield

When asked if Saffy has a favourite thing in the shop, she points to a display of crystals. Brittany laughs as she drapes George with another scarf, says “That’s her baby!”. Saffy nods.

“Everyone loves a crystal. We always say the crystal chooses you. People come in and say ‘Oh, I like this crystal’, and we’ll go ‘Are you feeling really stressed?’. And they say ‘Yeah, how did you know?’. And we go ‘Because that crystal is for that’.”

Saffy speaks of her mum’s influence on her. “She was brought up near a hippy commune with her grandma and her grandad. She learnt water divination and things like that. She was brought up in the very old ways, and she brought me up that way as well.”

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“We do believe in female empowerment,” Saffy adds. “Especially in the workplace.”

Britt and George the GiraffeBritt and George the Giraffe
Britt and George the Giraffe

“I’d love to go back to the 1950s, 1960s. Just to see what it would be like for women back then. The fact that nowadays a woman can run a business by themselves. Whereas back then they weren’t allowed.”

“To see the empowerment of women grow, and the independent nature of them. I’d love to see how far we’ve come. Women as a society as well, because things are completely different now. There’s definitely still a way to go.”

“We’ve had it in business where people don’t like us because we’re women. They want to deal with a man. And me and my mum just laugh and go ‘Well, there’s no man here to deal with’. The only man is my poor stepdad who’s our warehouse operative as I keep calling him.”

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Saffy laughs. “And you don’t want to deal with him, he’d give you everything at a quid, bless him.”

Two ladies chat to Brittany as they look at the scarves on George. Saffy continues. “There is still some inequalities, but I think it’s getting a lot better. And with more independents opening that are women-orientated, it’s fantastic to see. About time!”

Future plans? “We’re going to open the first floor as a boutique and furniture. So my mum is going to get back into her re-loved furniture. I’ve now gone half-and-half with her. She’s going to have a bit more time to do things she loves.”

Saffy behind the counterSaffy behind the counter
Saffy behind the counter

“The main thing with all of this, is she started off with re-loved furniture, and I think she wants to end on re-loved furniture. So we’re going to do a full circle. And we’re also going to do workshops.”

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“So wood-stamp printing, terracotta painting, we’ve even thought about broomstick making. We’re going to have psychic nights, kids parties, everything.”

“Our motto is ‘If you look after the community, the community is going to look after you’. Even though we’re a shop, it’s also a place to come if they need somewhere to get to and just have a chat with me, with Britt or my mum, and just relax. Not everyone needs to buy something, but they might need to chat to someone.”