Chorley woman quits job and uses life savings to open 'Chic' shop

When "Chic Happens" there's always Chorley's Claire Robinson and her little mascot Raff ready and waiting to welcome you into their new fashion boutique.

By Emma Downey
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 12:33 pm

Six weeks ago Claire, 46, emptied “every bank account, back pocket and the contents of the back of her sofas” to buy a three storey building in Chorley which had lay empty for eight years after falling into the statistic of another sad casualty of the High Street trade.

A previous solicitor and law lecturer, she had always held a passion for fashion and once Covid hit, was able to start establising her dream of starting up a business.

The mum of three boys said: “I have no time to go shopping around the high street and like many women, I noticed that with online shopping purchases nothing looks the same as it does on the website. No one tells you how to style for your shape.

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Owner of new Chorley store Chic Happens Claire Robinson

"So I decided to take video of myself twice a week with 20 different clothing items discussing how to style for different body shapes.”

Claire debuted her first live video in February 2019 with a poncho garnering a loyal following.

"My business benefitted from the pandemic and we all came together on a Tuesday night over Zoom.

“The meetings took off to such an extent during lockdown that I was working from 5am until 10pm every day.”

Raff the cockapoo is ready and waiting to welcome customers

Once lockdown was over she started looking at business premises.

"The building I found was a former Santander bank. It was dusty and full of cobwebs and each floor comprised of lots of separate offices.”

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With a heavy load of TLC and a truck load of elbow grease she transformed the two floor premises into a women’s clothing department on the first floor and a menswear section on the second with homeware, complete with a travel agent named Kate Holroyd of Strawberry Holidays ready to cater to your every holiday destination desire.

"This is where Chic Happens"

The store now has powder rooms die for. A staircase of dreams. Spacious fitting rooms. Funky neon signs and a a luxurious VIP styling suite which customers can book out free of charge.

And the name for her business? “When I was giving a talk on how to grow your business in Vegas my sister Alison bought me a notebook which said Chic Happens on the front and I thought this was funny and a great name.”

Chorley’s newest asset to the fashion scene added: “I am a very tired but ridiculously happy owner with a damp eye and a very happy heart.”

What advice would she offer someone ready to venture into pastures new but fear holds them back?

Waiting on a friend to make a clothing decision? Take a comfy, fashionable seat!

"You spend longer at work than you do with your loved ones and family. I used to have the career where I was excited for Fridays, but now I have the career I love.

"Live a life of no regrets and follow your dreams.”

As if all this wasn’t enough to tempt customers through the door, Claire’s six-month-old black cockapoo named Raff is the shop’s mascot and helper.

"Customers come just to see the dog. One time I forgot to bring him and broke a few hearts in the process.”

The High Street store is open every day (except Wednesdays) from 9am to 5pm.

Claire is on hand to guide you to your suited style choices
Pick a colour any colour!