Online business gets boutique

New boutique: Poppy Waters, of Mary & Milly, who started a clothing business online has moved into premises in Guildhall St, Preston
New boutique: Poppy Waters, of Mary & Milly, who started a clothing business online has moved into premises in Guildhall St, Preston
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Ahead of Small Business Saturday on December 6, one Preston boutique owner is championing the need for customers to shop local.

Poppy Waters, 24, from Ashton, started her own fashion business, Mary & Milly, three years ago after graduating from UClan.

New boutique: Poppy Waters, of Mary & Milly, who started a clothing business online has moved into premises in Guildhall St, Preston

New boutique: Poppy Waters, of Mary & Milly, who started a clothing business online has moved into premises in Guildhall St, Preston

And this week, she branched out from the online world and opened her very own shop on Guildhall Street in the city centre.

Poppy said: “I’m keen to put the fun back into shopping.

“For most people, especially at Christmas, shopping is stressful and can be more hassle than enjoyment, even for the people who actually do like to shop. “If you give customers an enjoyable experience they will keep coming back and small boutique shops like ours will continue to thrive.”

Poppy, her grandmas, who the shop is named after, and the interns that work in the shop all hail from Preston or study at UClan, and keeping that local connection was important to the business. She said: “UClan’s fashion courses are some of the top courses in the country and I really want to hone in on that and make the most of it which is why I haven’t set up in Manchester or anywhere like that.

“ I’ve stuck to my Preston roots and stuck to the idea of making something here and it was important to me to employ and have people from the local area.”

Small Business Saturday is being supported by the Lancashire Evening Post’s Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local campaign which promotes local economy.

And Poppy is hoping that the increase in small, independent businesses off the main shopping area can encourage shoppers to discover what the city side streets have to offer.

She said: “People who aren’t familiar with Preston maybe do tend to stick to the main streets but once they realise that there are a whole host of independent retailers just tucked away down side streets they become regular customers.

“I know in the past people haven’t wanted to bother with coming into the city centre because of parking charges and all the rest of it but, especially now, with the retail park having it’s traffic problems, more people are coming into town. Poppy added: “We don’t want everyone to be driven out of the town centre, we’ve been a city for a long time now so businesses need to branch out and try new things and offer different services. I open seven days because I want people to have time to shop and hopefully, with doing that, there will be a bit more of an exciting vibe to Preston city centre otherwise people will go to other places.”

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