Wigan businesswoman helps a good cause during national lockdown

A businesswoman who opened her boutique just two weeks before the coronavirus pandemic did not let a third national lockdown stop her making a difference.
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Natalie Murphy served her first customers at Faith, on Cross Street in Standish, in March last year.

But since then she has had to close the doors several times due to the restrictions imposed nationwide to stop the spread of the virus.

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Her boutique is currently shut again, with orders instead being taken online, but she has still been able to use her business to help people in the borough.

Faith's Natalie Murphy and Sam Boffey with Maureen Holcroft, from Daffodils DreamsFaith's Natalie Murphy and Sam Boffey with Maureen Holcroft, from Daffodils Dreams
Faith's Natalie Murphy and Sam Boffey with Maureen Holcroft, from Daffodils Dreams

Natalie wanted to support Daffodils Dreams, which helps vulnerable young people and their families, so decided to hold an online auction.

She said: “I have a lot of stock at the moment so I went through a few items I thought I might be able to get a lot for. There were some best-sellers where I only had one piece left, for example.”

Natalie and Sam Boffey, who works on the website, along with two of his friends, held the auction in the shop and broadcast it live on Facebook.

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She said: “I think we got 80 to 100 people joining the auction, Each item we showed, people would bid on. Some out-bid each other so we had some bidding wars.”

Natalie, 36, said the event went “amazingly” and raised just over £250 for Daffodils Dreams.

It is not the first time she has supported the organisation, as her boutique acted as a collection point for gifts for its Christmas appeal, while Natalie also went to pick up items from people who could not get there.

She said: “I came across Daffodils Dreams and there was something I connected with.”

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Natalie is a keen supporter of several charities and wants to make a difference in the community, including as a role model for younger people.

Originally from Manchester, she moved to Standish four years ago and opened the shop after saving up enough money.

She had always wanted to have her own shop and became focused on her goal after suffering a bad seizure and cardiac arrest four years ago.

It is a women’s clothing boutique, offering items for all ages and all sizes, with a focus on customer service.

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Natalie said: “Going back to when I was a child, my mum used to take me shopping at Kendal’s and I remember being greeted at the door and someone would ask her if they could help.

“We have got lost in such an online world of shopping that we have lost that personal touch.

“When I moved to Standish, I saw there was a gap in the market. I’m a very customer-focused person and wanted to help people and create opportunities in the village, so I opened Faith.

“There is a bigger plan to have many stores, but it’s important to bring that personal shopping experience back.”

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Natalie said she had a “phenomenal” response from customers when her shop was open and was reluctant to move online, but felt she had no choice due to the lockdown.

While she is currently applying for jobs elsewhere to help pay the bills during the pandemic, she is committed to continuing to run Faith.

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