Walking my bag at the Village Arcade

Bags in the Handbag Carousel

Bags in the Handbag Carousel - Credit: Archant

MY latest fashion highlight finds me once again visiting the Village Arcade, this time in the hope of providing a solution to all your handbag needs.

The Handbag Carousel

The Handbag Carousel - Credit: Archant

A newly fledged member of the Arcade, Carousel the Handbag Boutique, was opened in mid-August by Vera Dalzell, Aaron Gransby and Laura Lilley.

The family run business was initially based in Preston, however after a move to St Albans the team discovered a perfect fit within the Village Arcade and its assortment of independent retailers.

The combined retail expertise of Vera and the local knowledge of her son Aaron and his partner Laura, re-ignited the family’s passion for the handbag boutique.

Carousel provides a mixture of day and evening bags, from distinctive, eye catching designs to more classic styles, reflecting the dual needs of the modern woman.


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The team visits suppliers on a weekly basis, handpicking each item, which allows them to immediately adapt to both fashion trends and local demand. The stock changes regularly as new styles and colours are added.

The main brand of leather handbags stocked is Bagitali which sources from Italian suppliers. As Aaron explained: “The bags chosen are ones that are currently very popular and successful in Italy.”

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The collection also includes French manufacturer Laurige and Spanish designer Jiovanna Agama. Jiovanna both designs and makes her beautifully soft leather handbags personally which, as Aaron described: “guarantees your handbag is a genuine one-off”.

Alongside the European brands chosen is locally-based St Albans designer Julie Slater and Son. Julie creates a range of brightly coloured satchels and handbags made of oil cloth with leather trims, perfect for more causal occasions.

The team are hoping to extend their collection and have begun stocking small accessories such as purses and make-up bags along with briefcases for both men and women.

They are always on the lookout for unique pieces in exciting patterns and colours. Laura explained how they have recently discovered brands using much brighter colours than are usually seen, such as leather bags in burnt orange and suede clutches in cobalt blue.

The team are determined to keep their prices accessible which they feel is especially important during the difficult economic times, with Aaron describing the boutique’s objective as offering “high quality handbags at fantastic prices, with 95 per cent of the leather bags stocked priced between £35-£90”.

The owners hope their competitive prices will eliminate any post-shopping guilt. As Laura explained: “We want to provide an antidote to the high street, both in the selection we offer and with prices that remain reasonable, not just at sale times.”

The boutique also hosts handbag parties which can be held either at home or in the shop itself and offer party guests the opportunity to peruse the collection at leisure. Laura described how “the parties provide a great talking point for a girls night in”.

So come and visit the new addition to the Village Arcade with its charming rocking horse and perhaps fall in love with one of the Carousel’s collection.

The boutique is open seven days a week. Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sundays from 11am-5pm.

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