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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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North Cumbrian shop bucks internet trend

Around the world, stores are closing because of the rise of internet shopping.

Brampton shop photo
Anne-Marie Baxter in Handbags & Glad Rags

But in Brampton at least online shoppers have helped reverse the trend and create a new town centre retailer.

Handbags & Glad Rags is a new store which has opened up on Shepherds Lane.

Its owner, Anne-Marie Baxter, has moved in after outgrowing her home internet business.

“It started off just posting on a page on Facebook to sell a few items of my children’s,” said the mother of four.

“It grew really quickly so I need to expand.”

The shop sells women’s clothes and accessories, along with goods for men and children.

Anne-Marie, who has three daughters under five and a teenage son, thinks the store will give people in Brampton an alternative to a shopping trip to Carlisle. It has two rooms, one with new goods and another stocked with second-hand items – a key part of the business 40-year-old Anne-Marie stresses.

Many of her customers are parents on a tight budget.

She said: “People need second-hand stuff here. Mums who have kids can’t just get on the bus to get things.”

The online business started shortly before Christmas 2011.

Anne-Marie worked in shops when she was a teenager and has since held a number of positions, many in the pub trade.

However, she has always wanted to have her own store and is delighted that she has realised this ambition.

“It feels wonderful, it feels like there has been a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” she said.

She is also pleased to have a job she can fit around her children’s school hours, and to have her stock moved out of her home.

Anne-Marie has some advice for making the successful leap from online to physical world trading: “You have got to give the customer what they need.”

One example is that she has sold clothes in bundles rather than individually following a customer’s request.

With the shop now open she will also continue to sell through her Facebook account, which can be found by searching for Brampton Selling Page on the social network.

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