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The story of Angi Lou Boutique

I had my first brief venture into the retail industry when I opened "Smartz" in the former mining village of Carcroft, Doncaster in August 2010. It's hard to believe but the social media concept was relatively new and was nowhere near as useful as it is today for business self promotion. That said, I did use the platform and remember somehow ending up selling and shipping two pairs of children's pink glitter Doctor Marten type boots to Australia! Get me, an international entrepreneur! Very sadly my mum, who it has to be said, is probably responsible for my love of fashion and clothes, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October 2010. My family always came first and I made what at that time, was the only decision available and that was to cease trading and focus on not only my mum, but my dad, who whilst coping with his own devastation, found himself as a full time carer to his 63 years young, beautiful courageous wife. She passed away in January 2011 and our whole family was left devastated and traumatised. Looking back, the shop venue was the "wrong time, wrong place" scenario and I never regretted the decision to cease trading. Those last few months spending time with my mum, I will cherish forever.

Both my family life and career have taken many a twist and turn since then and I found myself working in a highly responsible position as practice manager in a GP surgery and following my divorce, married to a new supportive, loving husband and having found a passion for golf..yes golf!!! When the opportunity came to leave the pressures of the NHS and enjoy being a lady of leisure, playing golf as often as I desired, I embraced my new lifestyle wholeheartedly. I have found that whilst physically I am probably fitter than I have been for years, my brain had become a little lazy and I felt the burning desire to get my teeth into something again. After a very brief flirtation of 3 days back in the NHS, I very soon realised that whilst I had a desire to return to work, it had to be doing something I loved and had a passion for. Now don't get me wrong, I love golf and have enjoyed minor success within the golf club ladies section but do realise, sadly I am never going to make a career of it! It was then that my husband pointed out my other shopping to be precise. Having located a shop available for rent in the lovely small market town of Tickhill, I am once again about to realise what I imagine would be many a woman's dream of opening her own clothing boutique, my very own "walk-in-wardrobe" (though my husband keeps reminding me it is NOT a' not for profit organisation'!) Scary, exciting but immensely gratifying, I have worked tirelessly finding brands that I think represent today's modern woman. For many years I have wondered why the UK had so little to offer women in terms of style and loved nothing more than wandering around clothes shops whilst on holiday in Europe. I started researching brands I have discovered and enjoyed wearing myself whilst on my travels. Incredibly I found that no one stocks these brands locally. Through sheer determination and persistent persuasion, I have secured these brands for the boutique and am continuing to discover new brands which I feel have a bit of an edge, but still offer style and a little bit of class. I do feel there is an element of risk in today's retail climate and I do find myself waking up during the night with anxiety due to my new venture, but also with a gut feeling and some hope that Doncaster and South Yorkshire are ready for the little bit of uniqueness I am importing from Europe. I am not underestimating the gamble I am taking, but I can only hope there are many more women who like me, are looking for something a little bit different and are fed up of filling and emptying my virtual basket online and want to get back out to the high street to the independent, sociable, boutique shopping way of life again. I very much look forward to welcoming you to Angi Lou Boutique.

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