“I think everyone will get used to it, but it just feels a bit alien right now” – A new look for COW Sheffield

With non-essential stores reopening to the Sheffield public last week, we spoke to Lucy Murray, manager of popular vintage haven COW, to see how the experience of browsing for new garms has been forced to change during the pandemic. 

Hi Lucy, how’s the lockdown experience been for yourself and the rest of COW team here in Sheff?
I think we’ve all been really bored to be honest! We’ve all been going through phases. The first few weeks everyone was like “I’m going to start running”, then there was a bit of a reading phase, then a creative few weeks knitting and painting etc. It has been difficult to find things to fill the time and some of our staff are students as well, so that’s been quite stressful – as if uni wasn’t stressful enough already! But I think everyone’s glad to be back in some way.

How have things changed now the store is back open?
We’re now more conscious of how many customers are allowed in the store at any given time as the shop is quite small. We also have a stricter and more frequent cleaning routine on the shop floor, making sure door handles and the surfaces are repeatedly being wiped down. We’ve also got a screen for the till and masks and gloves for all staff members! Because supermarkets have been open we’ve kind of been following suit with what they’ve been doing the past few months.

This being your first week back, how has the response from customers been?
It’s been so lovely to see all our customers again! We’re lucky that all the customers have really been respecting the new rules such as fitting rooms being closed and our new return policies.

Are there any specific challenges to this new form of retail experience? Alternatively, does it bring with it any potential positives?
I think the challenge is that it all feels a bit impersonal talking behind masks and screens, because we have such a good relationship with our customers. But I think this will come with time! I think everyone will get used to it, but it just feels a bit alien right now. In a positive sense we’re all much more tuned into how to keep customers and staff safe with cleaning and just being conscious of what things we come into contact with.

Finally, what summer styles can we expect to see stocked up and in store over the coming months?
All pastel everything! Our amazing seamstress has made some of our gorgeous rework styles in pastel coloured Ralph Lauren shirts, which are really light and summery. We’ve also just made some tie-dye bleached shirts that I think will be really popular this summer. Rework aside, we also have tonnes of ‘basic’ summer necessities like men’s and women’s shorts, t-shirts and lightweight raincoats – because you just cant trust Yorkshire weather!


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