This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
As we all know, the high street is having a very difficult time. And, of course, it’s not just big businesses like Arcadia and Debenhams that have been adversely affected by the challenges of lockdown. Meet Sarah Simonds, owner of a boutique in Norfolk. Her business was going swimmingly… then lockdown was announced.
Sarah is a Norfolk farmer’s wife and, as a woman of a certain age, she is only too aware of how few fashion collections are designed with the older woman in mind. So she set about rectifying this 13 years ago by setting up her boutique, Artichoke Collection.
We love what we do. We love the clothes that we sell & the women we serve. Laughter is often an added extra when you pop into our shop.
However, when the lockdown restrictions were announced, she had to close her much-loved boutique and cancel all her planned pop-up events. With the prospect of a much reduced turnover, Sarah realised her only source of income was her online business.
“I had no choice but to bring my entire shop home and spend weeks meticulously uploading every item of clothing, footwear and jewellery onto our website. Most are items that we only carry in small runs, so normally we wouldn’t bother to put them online. We used to consider it too time consuming but I think that we’ll have to re-think that in the future. We are also doing weekly styling videos which are fun rather than slick presentations, but like Annabel & Grace, use real women who don’t take themselves too seriously to show off our clothes.”
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I’d become a model, videographer and social media guru in my mid fifties”
“I go to the post office every other day laden with parcels and I am learning new skills daily. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I’d become a model, videographer and social media guru in my mid fifties, but this has become my reality! Since the first lockdown our online business has grown in leaps & bounds.”
We want our customers to feel fabulous without breaking the bank.
Sarah works hard to source items from all over Europe to ensure that Artichoke is different from the High Street and other independent stores
If you are lucky enough to live near Swaffham pop into the Artichoke boutique and say hello to Sarah. She has an open door policy most days but on Wednesday afternoon each week offers closed door appointments to customers who are either feeling unsure about life or who are on the vulnerable list. Full information about this and all the systems she has put in place for your safety can be found here.
Or you can see Sarah online by following Artichoke Girls on YouTube and catch one of her live videos.
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