Groovystyle Baby Equipment from Berkhamsted has the honour of being the very first ever Dadness Featured Store, in a ‘now & again’ feature in which I will highlight a great independent retailer that I have visited or had experience of in recent weeks.
I will be focussing purely on independent stores as, in my experience, they work the hardest and have the most knowledge about products and parenting. There is no great disrespect here of the nationals and major chains that also sell baby products, as some of the staff in those are excellent too, but the independents are where the real characters work and we need them on our high streets to provide the local expertise that parents need.
So, back to Groovystyle.
I first met the team from Groovystyle Baby Equipment at the Birmingham NEC Baby Show last year while they were working on the UPPAbaby stand, and was particularly impressed with the knowledge and care that everyone from the store showed towards myself and other people who visited the stand.
They were flat out busy at the show and I asked a few questions about products with a promise from the owner, George, that he would come back to me with the answers and advice upon his return to the shop.
Lo and behold, he called me back on the Monday afternoon and was so patient and helpful that I ended up ordering some bits and bobs from him, including a Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus car seat as George showed himself to be a true expert in car seat advice.
That has turned out to be a great choice too, and works perfectly with our UPPAbaby VISTA, which George was also able to advise on.
A few weeks ago I was in the area visiting family near Gerrards Cross so took a little diversion to go and visit the team in their store in Berkhamsted.
I fell in love the place instantly…down the stairs we went and into a brilliant showroom absolutely packed with a wide range of parenting treats. There is plenty of room to wander around yet every step you take brings something new to look at.
Their specialism in car seats and pushchairs is obvious, but there is a great range of feeding, sleeping and bathing products too, as well as a few toys and a beautiful display of changing bags.
From a dad’s perspective, the ranges they carry tick pretty much all of the boxes. There is proper dad gear available here from Babyzen and Mountain Buggy pushchairs through to a good supply of Bababing products as well as a good supply of baby carriers and some damn fine looking car seats (although I am perfectly happy with the Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus for this stage of baby M’s life). Loads of accessories available also.
They allowed me to quickly film a walk around their store but only had my iphone with me and not tripod so please excuse the ‘rough’ nature of the clips below, but you will get a feel for the store from it.
Ok, so they have a great store, fab staff and are very knowledgeable…so too are many other independent stores, and I hope to introduce you to more of them as time goes by, but there’s something else a little bit special about Groovystyle…and it the extent of their product knowledge and the way they combine that with the needs of parenting consumers.
Let’s take my UPPAbaby VISTA as an example…now I know that the customer service from UPPAbaby is excellent, and it was one of the many reasons we chose that system, but I also know that if I ever need a spare part or if the pushchair ever needs a service then I can get all of that from Groovystyle. I love the massive basket on my VISTA, but when the rain is very bad it can get wet in there – well Groovystyle picked up on this from some customer feedback last autumn and George went and created his own solution to the problem and now sells an UPPAbaby VISTA basket raincover.
It’s that type of thinking that I love – a heady mix of problem solving with an entreprenurial spark, and I am sure that this approach extends to many other brands that they stock.
Their nursery products website is really good, and they do have some brilliant offers on quite regularly. They offer free next day delivery on orders over £50 if ordered before 3pm, and I took advantage of this when I ordered the car seat and the product arrived next day, perfectly protected and right on time.
I can share with you also that you can get 10% off your first online order with Groovystyle Baby Equipment by using the discount code ‘basket’ when you check out 🙂
I should also mention that there is free parking right outside the store, and this may seem like a given but not all stores are able to offer this. This meant that George was able to pop outside and check a couple of points with me about the way I was using the car seat.
So, there you go…big up the Groovystyle Massive.
If you have any suggestions for great stores near you then please let me know by email or leave a comment below.