One thing from The Vaults Collective

I'm buying one thing from every shop on the Crystal Palace Triangle. This is the seventh thing.

Oh hi again. I’m still buying one thing from every shop on the Crystal Palace triangle and writing about them here for the joy of it. 

This is the seventh thing now, and it’s so plant-based it’s an actual plant. Peak Crystal Palace!

(Also – now’s when I’m beginning to realise I’ve bitten off way more than I can chew. Buying things is easy and quick, writing words much less so. The backlog is growing! Quality standards are slipping! Don’t unsubscribe!)

The shop

Technically two shops. 

Plants by Ivy and the Wolf. Coffee and cakes by La Mouche Bakery. Collectively known as The Vaults Collective. Excellent!

Animated gif of Bill and Ted, with the caption "Together, we are Wyld Stallyns!"

Of all Crystal Palace’s many places of outstanding retail beauty, The Vaults Collective has got to be the most instagrammable of the lot. It’s GORGEOUS, outside and in – a luscious urban oasis, barely recognisable from its past life as a businesslike Barclays bank (whose vaults inspired the name).

When it first opened 3 years ago with its combo of houseplants, cakes and coffee I thought: hello, that’s a wacky proposition. But it seems fairly normal now, having been well and truly beaten in the weird retail charts by these two newer kids on the triangle:

But also – this makes sense. Plants + plant-based. Woman founder best friends. And you can’t argue with this neon sign!

Pink neon lettering on a wall, surrounded by houseplants. It says "Plants can't solve all problems, that's wy there's cake too"
“Plants can’t solve all problems. That’s why there’s cake too.”

The people

Sanne is the woman behind Ivy and the Wolf, and Fay is the woman behind La Mouche Bakery. I chatted to Sanne on this visit (it was busy, so only briefly). She was lovely, explained the dual businesses and how the collective came about, and is rightly proud of what she, Fay and their colleagues have built. 

The many things

Ok, so wait. This was a proper pleasant surprise.

I HAD NO IDEA THIS PLACE HAD BECOME THIS AWESOME. 

When I last popped in it was still a Covid pop-up. Already a really pretty place, with an array of plants, and nice cakes – but nothing else. But now, Sanne explained, they’ve got a long term lease so have fully realised their vision.

So as well as the beautiful houseplants and “would never have guessed it was vegan” bakery, it’s now a treasure trove of cool unconventional homeware, gifts and funky cards. A real hidden gem of a shop!

Just look at all this loveliness!

Plants galore:

Homewares, gifts and cards:

What?! There’s more downstairs?

Neon sign (surr0nded by plants!) that says "more downstairs" wirh an arrow.

Of course, in an actual bank vault! 

The one thing

Technically two things. 

I bought a cortado coffee (yum) from Fay’s business and a small succulent plant for £3 from Sanne’s. IKR, big spender! Don’t worry though, I’ve been back several times already and snaffled up various cards and gifts for loved ones (and further lovely cortados and brownies for me).

The thing in its new home

Remember the weird yellow mug guy that my wife hates (not incorrectly tbf) from London Car Boot Online: The Shop? No? Well, this is now its hair. 

A yellow mug with feet, a face on it and its hand on its hip (forming the handle). It now has a plant in it - with small dark purple leaves. Next to it are other ugs with logos for ODPM. Croydon and GOV.UK

I give it a year tops. Either the plant will die (I am a bad plant dad) or the mug will accidentally-on-purpose come a cropper. Place your bets on which happens first!

(Sanne told me what kind of plant it is, but I forgot? Let me know if you know, it might help me kill it slower).

Close up image of the plant

The Vaults Collective is at 61 Westow Hill, SE19 1TS. It’s a magical, beautiful shop and the coffee and cakes are heavenly, so do pop in if you haven’t!

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