In almost every part of the world, the dragonfly symbolises change, transformation, harmony, and good luck. In some cultures it represents summer and autumn, in others admiration, respect, power, and victory.
Louise Nichol owns The Dragonfly, a small independent gift shop in bohemian Broughton Street. She wanted a strong name to represent the passionate spirit behind the extensive eclectic mix of pieces on sale here, all personally chosen for this pocket-sized treasure trove.
Her drive is to offer variety and individualism, ‘just a great wee shop, friendly and full of diverse finds’.
Opening The Dragonfly in 2011, Louise has built up her business around a mixture of individual artists and makers from all over the UK and Europe. Infuse these with some principal traditional suppliers and the result is a wonderful mix of creative quirkiness.
Louise works full time for a blue-chip organisation in the financial sector, so she has a talented team at The Dragonfly – Elfreda, Ingrid and Marie (Louise’s Mum) – to help her. Together they manage the shop and help source new curiosities from a varied range of swanky retro, fashionable chic, and classic vintage.
The choices are truly astonishing: candles, cards, books, babywear, jewellery, pottery, women’s boutique, bags, toys, accessories, and even some upcycled one-of-a-kind oddities.
Louise told me, ‘I used to work for an organisation based in London. It was full on and I began to burn out, so I started looking for a new direction and fell in love with Broughton Street.
‘There’s a lovely village-like feel to the area, super-friendly locals, traders, and visitors, which made it the perfect location to start my business. I was so lucky to find an Edinburgh-based job at the same time as Bliss [the previous business on the site] came up for sale.’
Over the years, Louise has built up her own supplier base, adding independent artists from all over. Many artists are very local; some even live just round the corner, while other – such as Alice Newman – used to work in The Dragonfly. Elfreda is an illustrator, and even Louise creates her own artwork through up-cycling and re-purposing. You might even see a few unique paintings on the wall, the creations of Louise’s husband, Brian.
‘The Dragonfly now truly represents a uniqueness I’ve been looking for and I’m so proud of the variety of pieces we have … though I’m always looking for more!’ Louise tells me.
‘Our customers deserve it. They are so important to us and I want them to feel comfortable when they come in, love their shopping experience with us, and know they’ve found something special when they leave.
‘We know they have a choice, so my ambition is for them to continue to trust us for good quality, diversity, and originality.’—JRM
The Dragonfly (Tel. 629 4246) is at 11A Broughton Street and opens every day from 10am–6pm (7pm on Thursdays).