Walking into Urban Cottage on our first day in Bermuda, we were struck by how unique it was compared to the other boutiques and shops we’d wandered past in Hamilton. It was the sort of space that wouldn’t have looked out of place in London or NYC, with its abundance of reclaimed road signs and old-furniture, and it proved to be our first glimpse into the thriving creative scene on the island. For this isn’t a destination that’s ten years’ behind anyone. Yes, Bermuda is out on its own geographically, but if anything, its residents try harder than mainlanders to keep up with, and often stay ahead of, the trends elsewhere in the world.
And if we needed any more proof of Bermuda’s entrepreneurial and artistic spirit, a quick chat with Nicole, the owner of Urban Cottage, was enough…
Where did the idea of Urban Cottage come from?
Really, it started out of necessity. I’ve always loved collecting bits for my own home, but eventually I just had too much stuff. Initially I started with a pop-up store, but then I got a shout-out on Forbes and knew I had to source a permanent location – now here we are!
And the décor, all you?
Yes, I’ve loved doing up the interior of the store, using ancient family belongings as props. My family were quite the hoarders, so a lot of the stuff you see here is a little piece of my family history, like my grandma’s trunks, for example. Those pieces definitely aren’t for sale though!
It’s an eclectic mix; how would you describe the concept of the store?
I’m bringing together old and new Bermuda, whilst offering a platform for local artists and designers to be recognised and sell their pieces. But it’s also more than just a retail space. I’ll host wine tastings and private shopping experiences here. It’s a social space that reflects the relationship Urban Cottage has with the island; I’ve even had people I’ve met through Instagram drop in for a chat. Ultimately, the island is the backdrop to the whole store, it inspires it all.
So what was it like growing up on an island that’s offered you so much inspiration?
Growing up in Bermuda – it’s all I know. Going swimming every day, boating, always being outside exploring and living to the pace of island time (yes, it exists). I literally live across the street from the ocean, so on my days off I can sit on the dock and watch the day go by with the people I love. Yeah, I’m very lucky that I’ve had space to grow in such a beautiful and inspiring place.
Finally – what excites you most about the island?
Bermuda is a place that’s evolving every single day, and that’s a great thing to be a part of. But most of all, our passion is our culture, and it’s the people here that make it such a special place. You’ll find that out for yourselves over the next few days…