We Visit COW’s Brand New Nottingham Thrift Store

Photos: Addie Kenogbon
Interview: Addie Kenogbon
Friday 02 June 2023
reading time: min, words

Thrifty vintage treasure hunters rejoice! Popular independent vintage clothing brand, COW, has opened the doors to its third Notts store...


Allowing vintage clothing lovers to get their fashion fix for less, COW Thrift is stocked full of one-off retro pieces, with a cacophony of prints, colours, and patterns across menswear and womenswear. However, unlike the brand’s other Notts stores on Carlton Street or in The Exchange, the new Thrift store features items labelled across three colour-coded price points, allowing shoppers to get their hands on unique pieces at bargain prices. 

COW has been a staple of the Nottingham vintage scene for many years now, and the brand has garnered a name for itself for its cool interiors and ethically-sourced, quality nostalgic garms.

We caught up with Leanne Beardsmore, regional manager for COW, during Thrift’s opening day in May, to find out more about the new store... 

How come COW decided to open this new Thrift store, in addition to its other stores here in Nottingham?
We had a temporary pop-up store which was Bubble Vintage at The Exchange, and we were just testing to see if everyone liked that kind of price point and clothing, and it did really well. So we just thought, ‘Alright, let's find a bigger, better space where we can really offer people what they want,’ which is why we opened up COW Thrift. It’s so much bigger than Bubble was, and a lot more spacious. 

How has the new store been received so far?
You know what, it's been great. I feel like we've had lots of people come in, even from the minute we opened our door. There was actually someone waiting outside for me to open the doors today, which was nice. I think people are really liking it, which is good to see.

That’s what we're trying to do across all three stores - create community and support local

Can you talk me through what kinds of things you tend to stock? Are there any particular decades you stock?
We stock a bit of everything, to be honest. We have a lot of vintage second-hand stuff. So I can see we've got seventies shirts, for example, which we've put in the window; we've got eighties dresses; sixties pieces; and loads of T-shirts and sweatshirts from the nineties. 

We also have stuff that is quite recent, as well; anything that's been donated. This means you’ll often find brands that you would recognise [on the high street] nowadays too, which you can obviously buy second-hand, so it’s a bit of a mix.

How does this new COW store compare to the main COW store on Carlton Street?
The main COW store tends to have a higher grade of stock, with more premium items. That means you can have brands in there that are true vintage, whereas here at COW Thrift, it’s more for your thrifty charity shopper items instead.

Is there anything else shoppers need to know about? What’s next now you’ve opened?
Once a month - probably at the end of the month - we'll be doing a regular kilo sale, which is really exciting. We're also going to be doing pop-ups too. We're hoping to launch the first one in a couple weeks at the end of May, where we’ll be inviting local businesses and independents to take part in the pop-ups. 

There’ll also be opportunities to rent out one of our rails on wheels, which will mean independent brands who want to sell their clothing in here can have that for the day, and sell their pieces in our store. We're trying to incorporate lots of independent businesses, to create a great community here within COW. In fact, that’s what we're trying to do across all three stores - it’s all about creating that community, and supporting local. 

We have a lot of independent companies here in the city that are really there for the planet, and COW is a big part of that

Why do you think shops like COW do so well here in Nottingham?
I think it’s because Nottingham is one of the poorer cities in the country, so I think everyone's looking for a good deal. And people have also realised that we need to shop sustainably, especially second-hand, which is something Nottingham shoppers are really good at. We have a lot of independent companies here in the city that are really there for the planet too, and COW is a big part of that, which is why people draw towards us - because we’re a sustainable brand.

You can find the new COW Thrift store in Hockley near Goose Gate


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