Top spot to snap up a special gift

Her original shop, a landmark on the corner of Kilmarnock Road and Trefoil Avenue, was empty again and she jumped at the chance to move back in.

"This is where it all started for us years ago and it just made sense, people knew us and it's such a good location," she smiles.

"Second time round now we've been going for just over three years."

A quirky mix of gifts, interiors, jewellery, furniture and children's wear, Nuala Ashe is the go-to place for that special buy for yourself or to give to someone else.

With the spring and summer stock coming in now, it's the ideal time to browse.

Bold silk lime green polka dots scarves and twinkling pieces of jewellery are immediately eye-catching.

"Our stock is forever changing, we try to think of ourselves as being very forward thinking," explains Nuala.

"As soon as we start to see that multiples are copying some of the things the independents sell we tend to drop them straight away. We've got to keep one step ahead."

Top sellers at the moment are lettered bunting - perfect for a nursery - as well as old fashioned signs with funny or philosophical phrases.

"Anything that targets the heart or makes you think sells brilliantly for us."

In a similar vein, the selection of Joma Jewellery hits the spot for thoughtful gifts.

Tagged with names like Guardian Angel, Little Joy and Heart of Gold, the silver-plated bracelets, necklaces and earrings are the perfect way to say thank you.

There's definitely a retro feel to what's on offer, from a picnic basket, complete with coolbox, glasses and plates, to a set of pastel-coloured china measuring cups for the kitchen with beautiful butterfly detail. One shelf holds vintage-style kitchen tins, perfect for storing flour and porridge oats, as well as Oxo tins and gravy boats.

The shop has always been well known for its range of cards and wrapping paper, among the most popular selections at the moment are cards by Glasgow-based Zoe Brennan, who used to work there.

Chunky wooden coffee tables and framed mirrors, made with recycled scaffolding planks and lovingly hand treated, have been big sellers since the original shop. Made to order they are the perfect scale for Glasgow's Victorian tenement flats.

A new range of white bedroom furniture - dressing tables, bedside tables and wardrobes - complements the expanded furniture range.

Lily Flame candles and reed room fragrances from Illumens never go out of fashion. They go well with the new range of interiors products for engagement and wedding gifts.

"Because of the economy we don't have as many people treating themselves as much as in the past," comments Nuala.

"But we still have customers who buy one for me and one for them. The economy is definitely picking up."

Nuala set the shop up when she and husband Tim both flew with British Airways. Until just a couple of years ago she managed to juggle part-time work with the airline with running the shop and bringing up a family.

Now she is concentrating on the store.

"The shop is an extension of my passion for things to do with my house, things I like to buy myself. When I was pregnant the baby section got bigger and bigger."

Looking around the shop, Nuala adds: "The thing that's most important for us - and one of the things we learned working for British Airways - is customer service.

"We have a book with customers' names and numbers and what they're looking for and we call them when items are back in stock.

"That's what is really important and keeps our customers coming back."

n Nuala Ashe, 168 Kilmarmock Road, Glasgow. Visit www.nualaasheonline.co.uk

angela.mcmanus@eveningtimes.co.uk

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