Retail therapy

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The Independent Online
EVER WITH its finger on the pulse, if not actually the button, Retail Therapy this week brings word of a new way of buying sewing essentials - heartening given the continued disappearance of traditional haberdashers' shops.

In London you can make the trek into the West End to department stores such as John Lewis or Liberty, but to spend half of a precious weekend day tracking down a missing button can be frustrating, to say the least. Outside the capital the choice both of button purveyor and buttons may be even more limited.

Into the breach comes Button Treasures, a specialist mail order company. Its catalogue, launched last year, sells among others buttons made with glass, shell, wood, brass and gilt. It offers customers tips on button care and concentrates on natural colours in natural materials.

Button Treasures, Freepost KE 8426, London EC1B 1PJ (071-608 3745). Catalogues cost pounds 2 (refundable on first order).

AFTER the mail order comes video order. The European Collection claims to be the first video catalogue of its kind allowing fashion-conscious TV addicts to purchase their womenswear without even switching off.

This collection seems to be aimed at a mainstream but slightly older crowd - lots of slogans on sweatshirts and gold accessories. Telephone 0345 626150 for further details.

BACK-PACKING, trekking or picnicking babies may like to know there is a versatile new baby carrier from the French manufacturer Bebe Confort. Its lightweight, ergonomically designed frame has padded straps and belt and weighs 2.6kg. It is a back carrier equipped with unfolding wheels so that it can be pulled along and will also convert into a free-standing baby cradle. It is suitable for babies able to sit up - from around 6 months - and costs pounds 69.69. Telephone 081-531 9911 for local stockists.

SO you thought that crumpled pair of hygienically- challenged trainers was beyond the pale? Not so. Tired old sports shoes are offered a new lease of life with the launch of the first nationwide trainer repair service.

Nu-life will renovate and provide a complete overhaul for pounds 9.99 (introductory price till the end of May, then pounds 16.99). The service includes a new underside, heel linings, support insoles, laces, minor stitching repairs, cleaning and deodorising.

Available through shoe repairers, Mister Minit, Gullivers and Sadlers. For your nearest stockist, telephone 0727 850761.

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