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Retail reality lives up to my dreams

This weekend will be Free Love boutique’s third birthday. Time has passed so quickly since my sister Joni and I stood in the boutique on our opening day, realising our dream of many years, excitedly and nervously awaiting the response from our customers.

We were not disappointed.That day exceeded all our expectations.

Since then we have learnt so much. Originally we offered a small selection of clothing, but now we have many labels that we are proud to stock and have moved into accessories and footwear.

The economic climate is worrying and we are now more cautious when buying, but we are determined to stay positive, ride out the storm and use this time to focus on our customers’ needs.

It is time to stop competing with high street stores and embrace the fact that we are an indie which offers our customers a personal service. Stocking just one of each size of a style sets us apart from the big stores and is well received; if a woman is going to part with her money it is nice to know that there are not 20 other women wearing the same outfit.

We constantly look for ways to keep our customers’ enthusiasm and attract new buyers, and have started sending emails letting customers know about the latest stock or promotional offers. We change the window frequently, with a series of elaborate displays, as this is our advert to the world.

Joni and I are as passionate now as the day we opened. We’re a little older and wiser but are still excited by every buying trip and every collection that arrives. Through the highs and lows of the years to come, we will still put all we have into our business, and enjoy the moment.

Katie Free is the owner of womenswear boutique Free Love in St Peter Port, Guernsey

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