Shhh! Mix and Match Shopping Secrets


Shhh! Mix and Match Shopping Secrets from the Grainger Market


Published 17 September 2015 | By Suzanne McGregor



Just imagine that you’ve just bought a gorgeous dress in a shop with the best customer service in the world! However, you realise that you have no earrings to match it...


So, what do you do?


If you’re in the Grainger Market, you pop round the corner to the arcade to a glorious emporium of beads and stylish artisan costume jewellery to see what they can offer. As you can’t see anything that matches exactly, you enquire if they can create earrings, in a suitable design, to compliment your dress. 10 minutes later, you leave ready to celebrate your Ruby Wedding with your unique purchase.


I am not really a shopper: I put this down to not owning a television set. However, Kay at “Madame Butterfly” in Aisle 4 of the Grainger Market has the ability to transform me into one. I first discovered this tastefully decorated fashion haven in March 2014.


It comprises of around five racks of colour coordinated dresses and tops and an owner who talks as enthusiastically about her selection as an Italian would talk about food. Interestingly, “Made in Italy” features on the majority of labels.


Well, I leave 30 minutes later with a trendy, pale pink smock top with blue spots edged with lace to be worn over a white vest top that comes with it and a long, bright pink dress with black outlines of butterflies that my husband thought were leaves.


In the arcade, Karl and Victoria at “VJW Jewellery” are only too happy to create earrings to match the long dress. We choose matching glass crystal beads and silver wires and at a cost of £7.00, I’m completely colour-coordinated and I feel a million dollars. The care and concern that Karl exhibits for creating a design to my taste is palpable and I return a few days later to negotiate a necklace and bracelet to compliment one of last year’s tops, bought at “Madame Butterfly.”


Some of you may still have a vision of the Grainger Market in the “olden days” with rabbits and game hanging on hooks and cheap clothes with no changing facilities. This is why you might like to visit it since its refurbishment.


“Madame Butterfly” was born form the success of “Simply Sparkle” which still specializes in accessories and glamorous shawls. “VJW Jewellery’ used to be a little shop tucked across an aisle. It now occupies a panoramic curve opposite Scorpio Shoes where its perfect designs lure you in like delicious sweets.


So, why am I telling you all this?


Earlier this year, I needed a hat for our daughter’s wedding so I visited three well-known department stores. In all three cases, I was dismayed to find that not one shop assistant acknowledged me as an important or potential customer. As I was completely ignored, I joked to my friends that I could have played frisbee with the hats and doubted that anyone would intervene.


“Madame Butterfly” is just the opposite. Last autumn, I was surprised to learn that they were not canvassing customers to vote for them in the Customer Service Awards. I went off to get two forms – one for “Madame Butterfly” and the other for “VJW Jewellery”, having bought a lovely ready-made set of blue and white pearls for a holiday in Italy earlier in the year.


You may be unsurprised that “Madame Butterfly” won the 2014 Customer Service award! However, you don’t need to believe my kind words as you can discover both “VJW Jewellery” and “Madame Butterfly” for yourselves but please mention that you have read this article as I would love to feel part of their growing success story!


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Please note:  This Web site is made by the Grainger Market & Arcade Traders’ Association.  It is not maintained, run or endorsed by Newcastle City Council, who is the owner and operator of the Grainger Market.  See our terms & conditions.


Web site design by Karl Wilson.

Newcastle, NE1 5JQ




Suzanne McGregor


Suzanne has lived in Newcastle upon Tyne for over 40 years. She has watched with interest improvements around Grainger Town and to the Grainger Market in particular. Here, she reveals her two favourite haunts.