Cart - £0.00
Mother's Day is Sunday March 11th. Show her how much you care!

Guru Boutique is a physical and online fair trade shop!

Our physical shop is open seven days a week…

Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm.

Most Sundays: 11 am to 2.30 pm.

Bank Holidays 10 am to 4 pm.

Closed on Easter Sunday, Christmas day, Christmas Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

 Our website is ALWAYS open.

GURU ON TOUR: Occasionally we also do selected markets, pop-up shops, festivals and other events.

Our aim is to try and ensure that our part of this planet is a little more interesting and a lot more human than those harsher places which some souls inhabit. We’re an ethnic alternative boutique, for people of all kinds and all ages who possess individuality.
We sell incense and perfumed oils, unusual gifts and jewellery, festival clothing, quality greetings cards, books and so much more. We also love music and as mentioned above we support fair trade. If these kinds of things and values appeal to you please pop into our shop if you are ever nearby, browse our website or catch us if we are out and about on a market stall near you…

We see our customers as individuals and care about things. Over time the Gurus have become part of the fabric of a passionate local community and because of this, have been lucky enough to meet many wonderful and diverse people. We call these friends of ours, GURU TRIBE.
In an increasingly cynical world, we think that is of value. Hopefully, that ethic translates to our website too. This is more than a website, it is a way of communicating with people of all kinds and especially our lovely tribe…

BUZZ TV INTERVIEW filmed in 24 Blackwellgate, the beautiful old premises which (after moving from the legendary Court Arcade), we have occupied since 1990.

The spirit of the aforementioned Guru Tribe, which had been smouldering away in the background for some time, finally flickered into life in 1971 with the opening of Quaker Girl and then Santana. The flicker turned into a full flame in 1972 when Guru Boutique was born.

We are still evolving…

This is the Spirit that drives us on…

dare_to_be_different_custom_invitations-r29368a58a1894f188cbcef5fa7f8458e_zk9yi_324
Free thinking, freedom of expression, unfettered imagination, appreciation of variety, tolerance of difference, sense of responsibility, lots of laughs, unconditional love – that’s what it’s all about.
It takes courage to be unique and to cater for like-minded people, but it’s the only way to go for some of us…

Now follows a potted history of how Guru Boutique began, related to you by Guru’s Beryl.

The original inspiration for Quaker Girl and Santana (our first shops), and Guru Boutique (our current business) sprang from several bank holiday trips made to London between 1968 and 1971 with a local band or group as they were known as then, called Mother’s Lament. We made these journeys in order to buy stage clothes. Most of us were young, none of us had much money, but we were all curious to experience what went on in the big city. So armed with a good supply of Newcastle Brown Ale, tins of beans, and ‘provvie coupons’ (which were books of vouchers, which could be exchanged for goods at shops, as long as those shops were part of the Provident scheme), as often as possible myself, my husband Ray (who managed Mother’s Lament at that time), the lads from the band and their girls, used to pile our sleeping bags, our toiletries and ourselves, into two Commer vans and drive down to London. We’d been advised to park on some waste ground in Wrights Lane, as there were public loos nearby where we could get a wash etc., and it was handy for Kensington High Street. So we did that and used the vans as our base camp for those weekends. We’d go off and explore during the day and return to our vehicles at night, to sit cross-legged comparing notes, before consuming some Newkie Brown, and then drifting off to sleep.

The best of times…

These were magical weekends full of camaraderie, revelations, new experiences, music and fun. In those days the shopping, fashion and music scene in London was worlds apart from what was going on up here in Darlington. We soon found out that the ‘provvie coupons’ were of no use to us at all. Few people had even heard of them, let alone accepted them in the boutiques of London town. That didn’t matter a jot, however, as what we really came for was to have adventures – and we certainly managed to do that.

Bringing it all back home…

It’s not the same now of course, as due to the rise of social media there is no longer such a huge cultural gap between what happens in the North and South of this country, and London itself has changed beyond recognition from those days anyway. It’s all happening in Camden, Spitalfields and other groovy places nowadays, but it began for me and for Guru when I discovered Kensington High Street in 1969 and thought I’d landed in heaven. What a culture shock, and how totally different from the world I had known up to that moment. It really was heaven to me, rock’n'roll, hippy heaven… It was life changing. The colour, the chaos, the traffic, the seemingly endless crowds of people, the hustle and bustle, the shops, the cafes, the music, the London pubs, the ethnic diversity, and most of all the more unusual characters! The epicentre of this long and interesting street for me was the area in and around the fascinating Kensington Market, where I felt I had found my second home. I came back to my hometown that first time on a cloud (proudly wearing my newly purchased Afghan coat), inspired to try to open a shop in Darlington, which captured the spirit of ‘High Street Kensington’ on the cusp of the 1970′s

The rest is history…

Inspired by the group’s adventures in Kensington, King’s Road, Carnaby Street etc., my family opened a little shop called Quaker Girl in North Road in 1971. It was run by my mam and dad (Irene and Rupert Maughan), but due to location didn’t last too long. In March 1972 my mam and I became business partners and took a tiny unit in Court Arcade and became Guru Boutique. In 1990 we moved to 24, Blackwellgate, a pretty four-story listed building which we occupy to this present day. As you will have discovered if you are reading this, we now have a website, and we will strive to keep our online activities as close to the ethos of our physical shop as we possibly can. We also have been known to turn up on markets and do pop-up shops.

The current Gurus, are a collection of friends made up of myself (Beryl), Tony, Colin and Kelly.
We have been lucky enough to have had some truly wonderful Saturday staff over the years too. The four of us who work in the shop nowadays are not related in any conventional way, but even so, we are the heart of a real little community which has expanded far and wide, and we are always there for one another. Our ever-widening circle of friends is affectionately known to us as ‘Guru Tribe’! :-)

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE NAMES AND ANTICS OF THE GURU TRIBE IN OUR BLOG AND GALLERY…

Our reasons for being:

1. Because we need to earn our livings.
2. Because we LOVE finding great and unusual things to sell and get a kick from seeing the delight in the eyes of the customers when they find the perfect item whether clothing, book, card or gift for themselves or someone else…
2. Because we like to help as many people as possible (including ourselves), to feel good. Through having Guru, we quite often get the chance to do that.

The future…

The Gurus, are ordinary human beings who have been lucky enough to have accidentally become part of something decent. None of us financially slick. None of us particularly religious. None of us Party Political. None of us super clever (except maybe Tony – aka the Darlo Lama). None of us very sophisticated in an accepted way. In fact, we are relatively simple souls. We do however know,(from personal experience and from what we read and see in the media), that horrors and injustices of varying levels of magnitude, sadly happen all the time, just about everywhere in this world. It hurts to realise that it may be impossible to cure the world’s ills, but hope springs from the knowledge that there are those who keep trying…

Our greatest wish is that every living creature deserving of a bit of peace, security, consideration, justice and comfort, can one day find it. As for ourselves, if we can stay aware, be fair, retain the ability to laugh at ourselves and keep on doing what we do – then hopefully we can endure and something good will come from it.

LONG LIVE THE GURU TRIBE – THE WORLD NEEDS ORIGINAL AND IMAGINATIVE PEOPLE, MORE TODAY THAN EVER!

12654571_10153839311377510_7177926844672974677_n