I’ve decided to start writing my blogs again. So today I managed to get on to my website with the help of a very patient friend (I’m not very techy) and when I looked at my last blog (which was a draft from 2019!) it had this heading and I thought ooh how weird that’s still appropriate, I’ll carry on with that draft. I’ve also decided to leave my first paragraph in from that original draft as it really does show how “time flies”
(Draft from 2019) Wow!! I had literally just written this heading, as I couldn’t believe how long it’s been since I last wrote a blog, when the boutique doorbell rang and I heard a couple of people walk in. On looking up, I had a double take and then shouted Oh My God. It was only my best buddy from my first job in London in 1988!! She had just ‘popped’ in to see me as she was staying in Sheffield. I haven’t seen her for a good 15 years or more since our kids were babies. Just amazing. Her visit and chat really made my day. It was as if I’d only seen her a few months ago. Not years!!
So back to my updated blog of 2021 ….
Yes how time flies. Frillies has now been open for over four years and what a four years it has been. I opened without any previous retail or lingerie experience. It was a mad menopausal moment and looking back, I do think what the hell was I thinking of, but at the same time, I think how amazing that I decided to take this huge leap and embark on this roller coaster journey.
And it has been a roller coaster – emotionally, physically, mentally and financially. It’s been good and it’s been bad. There have definitely been days when I wanted to just close the door and not come back ever again. But those days are few. The majority of it has been bloody brilliant. And that is because of you, my lovely Frillettes.
Before I opened Frillies, as well as working at the Paramount, I had my own little reflexology and massage business which I loved. The personal connection I had with my clients was just so job satisfying and I didn’t think that I would be able to ever emulate that again. However, little did I know that the connection I have with my customers far outweighs that. It’s amazing. Being a bra fitter, isn’t just about finding the best fitting bra. Far from it. I mean, yes I work hard to ensure that I find my Frillettes the perfect fit and I make sure that I see every Frillette in the bra that they are purchasing before they leave, but more so, it’s all about working with your customers. Making sure that your lady leaves feeling confident that she looks and feels good!
Lockdown has added a whole new facet to retailing. Honestly, it’s so interesting and exhausting all at the same time. At the beginning of 2020, I was so positive about the year ahead for Frillies. I was excited about the stock coming in and the ideas that I had. But then bang!! I had emergency bowel surgery at the beginning of March after being extremely poorly and then COVID arrived!! My god. What a shock. Most of you know that I was very poorly and recovering from surgery in Lockdown 1. But after about 6 weeks, I was able to start getting my head round my little business again. And it survived! Again thanks to your support. And to be honest, when I was allowed to be open in 2020, even with all the restrictions that I had to have in place, I thoroughly enjoyed being in Frillies. Bizarrely Lockdown and the threat of COVID has made me realise the importance of what I have in life as well as the importance of human connections. I have fallen back in love with where I live, with my community and our gorgeous surroundings which change on a daily basis. We are so lucky living and being here in Lockdown.
And so it’s so interesting now Frillettes, being in Lockdown 3. It’s happening at the most weather depressing time of the year and it is tough isn’t it? If anybody says it isn’t, well I just don’t believe them. This time of year is awful anyway. Add in to it another Lockdown and it is very tough, exhausting and pretty miserable. The world of retail has been hammered, hammered again and then hammered even more. But do you know what? I can actually still see a positive. At first, I thought, well that’s it. I might as well give up trying to have a shop which offers a fitting service as nobody can come in. They can just buy their bra online. But Lockdown 1 taught me that yes you can order a bra online. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to fit. The number of ladies I had booking in after Lockdown 1 because they’d ordered bra after bra online which didn’t fit and they’d subsequently sent back was incredible. And that has given me heart.
And so whilst I’m not a big operation. I’m not all singing and dancing and I’m pretty rubbish at technology. I’m just me. And I think that’s the positive I can take forward out of all this. I believe that COVID has taught us a lesson. The lesson of our local community and the human spirit. The support that my local community has given to me and our local businesses during 2020 and even now is amazing. I keep toying with the idea of selling online but it removes that personal element of human connection and advice. And so whilst going forward I am going to try and set up a website to sell a few items, I am going to stick with my social media and speak to my Frillettes that way. Even though it’s techology, it’s personal. I can demonstrate to you. I can show you things. And I can advise on fit. And that’s what it’s all about . Stay safe and stay sane, Rebecca xx