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Dream decision for Lewes mother and daughter team
It was a quiet country stroll for Catherine Hoff and her mother Sue Sawyer which led to a life-changing business decision.
Mrs Hoff was disenchanted working with marketing agencies while her mother had recently been made redundant as an executive PA. During a walk through Sheffield Park, north of their hometown Lewes, they came across a delightful linen shop and both remarked how it would be a dream to run such a beautiful shop. More than a few conversations later and the dream became a reality.
The result was The Bedroom, which opened in the High Street in Lewes last autumn, run by the mother and daughter team.
Mrs Hoff said: “We knew there was a gap in the market because we had difficulty finding premium quality bed linen.”
She says The Bedroom has a wide selection of both adult and children’s bed linen and bedding sets, from plain to patterned, fine Egyptian cotton and linen.
The products are sourced from the UK, Scandinavia, Belgium, France and Australia. It also stocks an array of other items for the bedroom, such as throws and cushions, fragrant room diffusers, pictures, mirrors, toiletries including soap, foam bath, shower gel and hand cream and small pieces of bedroom furniture.
Some of the brands stocked include Designers Guild, KAS Australia, Libeco, Citta Design, Lunar Cotton, Sashi, Helena Springfield and The Fine Bedding Company. Mrs Hoff says that although the shop is doing well it hasn’t all been plain sailing setting up a small business in the teeth of a downturn.
She said: “Rents are high and as a result it is much harder for independent retailers to survive.
“The recession has had a real impact on traders but I believe that we will get through the financial downturn.”
And she has advice for any budding retailers who want to follow her example.
She said: “Find a niche. The people of Lewes are very supportive of independent retailers but in a bustling and competitive town a new start up needs a niche to be successful.
“And they should research the area they are moving into. Companies need to be clear about their target market and what the business is trying to do and have a specific focus and direction.
“New start ups need to understand their vision so that customers can do the same and appreciate it. A business needs to define its budget up front.
“Finally, manage your finances from the offset – it is extremely important to effectively manage your finances. Cash flow is vital to any business.”
Sound advice to ensure an independent retailer can sleep easily.
Name: The Bedroom
Location: The High Street, Lewes
No. of employees: Two