Stirling was until recently starved of a reliable hub for vintage clothing. Remember the old shopping arcade just off Murray Place? Well, it’s just got itself a whole new breath of life. Welcome to the scene, Ruby In The Dust and sister Ruby Cakes. Nestled in among well known Betti Loves It and Connie’s Closet, Ruby is the icing on the cake ensuring the Arcade is now Stirling’s number 1 fashion destination. I caught up with proud owners Craig and Gemma to find out just how much effort went into launching the treasure trove.
Gemma, a Stirling Uni Film and Media graduate, and Craig, a chef, got together last year and have since gotten married in Las Vegas. Both were very keen on being their own bosses. Gemma used to move around the UK as a vintage seller at a travelling fair but the couple was keen to settle down somewhere and open their own business with space for Craig to perform his cake magic. They were ready to move anywhere, even abroad but found Stirling had the right niche for their venture.
After falling in love with the classic Arcade, Craig and Gemma signed a contract for two adjoining shop spaces, quit their jobs, packed their bags and array of vintage clothing and made the move to Stirling. Now, locals will know how tricky flat hunting can be in town so the two spent 5 weeks living in their motorhome lovingly named Ruby before settling into their new flat. And to top off a very action-packed few weeks, Gemma got news of her pregnancy!
Thanks to their superb DIY design skills and the help of just a plumber, the lifeless free space in the Arcade has been turned into a dreamy treasure trove. Appropriately named Ruby In The Dust after Gemma’s favourite Neil Young lyrics, the shop really is a gem in what used to be a much less exciting fashion destination.
The vintage items are all selected by Gemma who’s been building up a collection over the last 15 years that originally weren’t even meant for sale. To give you an idea of the very reasonable prices, scarves are £6 a pop, blouses cost around £8 each and the average dress is priced at £23. Gemma also stocks vintage-inspired jewellery and some custom-made dresses she orders in from a San Francisco- based company.
Her customers are mainly students but while I was in the shop, an elderly lady came by looking for a very specific type of dress and praising what’s on offer. Before the official opening, posters did a great job in spreading the word around town. Facebook also worked wonders and Ruby In The Dust had 150 fans in an hour proving Stirling was a good choice to set up shop.
Craig’s customers are more of a mixture – he gets students, locals and tourists wondering in for an afternoon treat. His cupcakes are all handmade and decorated right there in the shop. A box of 4 will set you back £6 but with flavours as tempting as Chocolate Orange, Strawberries and Cream, and Cappuccino, you might fancy forking out £9 for a box of 6 or £16.50 for a box of 12. Craig also bakes giant cupcakes that are 25 times the size of a normal one and once got 3 orders in one day! You can get a selection of teas, coffees and soft drinks with your cakes and there are plenty of tables to sit down and relax at after a shopping spree.
So next time you fancy an escape from Stirling’s cliche high street and chain stores, pop into the Arcade and say hi to Gemma and Craig, the lucky owners of Stirling’s only specialty vintage and cupcake boutique.
– Miss Red