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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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University of Cumbria student setting up business

A former student at the University of Cumbria is setting up her own business in Brampton.

Sarah Till photo
Sarah Till

WishStrings, in High Cross Street, sells jewellery, gifts and home decor, including vintage furniture.

The shop will be opened tomorrow by the mayor of Carlisle, Ray Bloxham, and his wife Olive.

Kelly Wragg, 20, who has just completed a performing arts degree, is behind the venture.

She said: “I established WishStrings as a hobby. Back in 2012, I started making wish bracelets for friends and they were saying, ‘These are quirky, you should sell them online’.

“I set up a Facebook page, and started doing craft markets, and at the beginning of this year I did my own website. It just kept building and building.

“That’s when I decided to make it into a proper business.”

She has bought the building formerly occupied by Green Design Group. There is a gift shop on the ground floor while upstairs is a vintage and antique emporium selling collectibles, vintage clothing and shabby chic furniture. The second floor will become living accommodation.

She has also let a separate shop within the building to Jane Atkinson who plans to re-open Simply Gorgeous Gifts, which closed in March because the cost of renting her last premises in the Market Place became too onerous.

Miss Wragg, from Barnsley, said: “No bank would touch me because I’m so young so I borrowed the money from my granddad who used to be in business. It’s like a mortgage really.

“Everyone says ‘You’re so young, what are you doing?’. I kind of like that and I know I’m lucky to have a family that’s in a position to support me. It’s a massive risk though.”

Her mother, Jayne Wragg, said: “I’m proud of what Kelly’s done. She’s focused, driven and very determined. Early in the new year she rang and said ‘Mum, I’ve seen a shop and I’m booking a viewing’. I took a day off and went with her. I could see the potential.”

Meanwhile, another shop has been opened in Brampton by artist Sarah Till.

Mrs Till, 44, specialises in contemporary abstract paintings and painted glassware, but Sarah’s Unique Arts and Crafts, off Front Street, also showcases the work of other creative types.

She said: “My daughter Jessica is doing a foundation year at Carlisle College and she asked if students could exhibit their work, which I’ve agreed to.”

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