Going old school

Shopfront of Jotter Book at 5 Everton Park.

SINGAPORE - Everton Park has been known for its chic cafe joints popping up in the past year.

So I was intrigued when a friend told me about a new shop at the area that reflected the cool, hipster vibe of the surrounding cafes.

And this secret shopper simply had to check out Jotterbook.

Signature Style

From outside of the shop, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what Jotterbook was about - a vintage shop.

Through the windows, I could see lovely classic bicycles from Australian cult brand Papillionaire: One in Tiffany blue, and another in a rich latte brown.

And just outside the door was a little board indicating retro items for sale, which got me all excited.

I expected vintage, classic items - something along the lines of the bicycles.

Unfortunately, I was left disappointed.

The items sold at the shop were extremely random. Jotterbook clearly had no direction on what to sell.

From little batik bags to unremarkable printed pencil cases and flip flops, it felt like a mishmash of items that the owners hurriedly put together for sale.

It didn't help that it wasn't clear what was for sale and what was for display.

That being said, this shopper managed to find the silver lining in the form of chic brown leather covers for my gadgets.

They came in both soft and hard leather, and in different sizes.

If you cannot find one that fits your gadget, you can easily get one customised.

Also on sale were extremely comfortable shoes that came in two styles - pump flats and espadrilles - in different bright colours.

Cycling enthusiasts would appreciate the various accessories - especially the ones for storage purposes, such as the classic, sturdy barrel bags for under the seat.

Price point

The bicycles from Papillionaire cost $962. That caught me off guard but they are extremely pretty and unique - definitely worth it, I say.

The larger leather covers sold at about $48 - which is an average price.

But I wouldn't say the same for the rest of the items in the store.

There was a basket full of printed pencil cases of different sizes that ranged from $15 to $18.

The prints were extremely dull and the pencil cases just looked cheap - not worth the price tags at all.

There was also a large brown tote bag on sale for $98.

It was waterproof on the inside. It would definitely appeal to students who can easily fit several textbooks and a laptop in it. Not to mention that it had many pockets and different compartments.

But I felt it was too expensive as it did not have any design elements nor did it look extremely stylish.

If you do not intend to purchase anything, you can rent one of their bicycles at $8 per hour or $20 a day.

Store layout

I thought the store layout was a little messy.

Random cycling accessories were placed next to iPhone covers, which was headscratching.

The space where the bicycles were sold was also a little too cramped so it was a little difficult taking a closer look at the bikes.

Service

As soon as I arrived, the two men at the store greeted me with warm smiles, which was nice.

Being a cycling noob, I didn't know much about bicycles and one of the men patiently explained the different bicycles on sale. Well done! Extra marks for that!

Verdict

To be honest, while this shop advertises itself as a bicycle shop that also sells retro items, it is more of the former and none of the latter.

It is only worth visiting if you are interested in buying or renting a bicycle, and have some spare cash for the other stuff that happens to be on sale.

To be fair, this shop only opened late last month, so there is still room for improvement.

tnp@sph.com.sg

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