Wigan businesswoman Natalie has Faith in shop success

A businesswoman who opened her boutique just two weeks before the first national lockdown says she “can’t wait” to welcome customers back through the doors.
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Natalie Murphy had always wanted to run her own shop and was delighted to open Faith Boutique, on Cross Street in Standish, in March last year.

But the first national lockdown was announced just weeks later and since then she has had to shut the shop several times due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Natalie took her business online, but she has also been busy revamping the boutique and getting new stock ready to open.

Natalie Murphy in her independent clothes store - she believe people are bored of shopping for clothes onlineNatalie Murphy in her independent clothes store - she believe people are bored of shopping for clothes online
Natalie Murphy in her independent clothes store - she believe people are bored of shopping for clothes online

She said: “I have had a revamp so no-one will have seen it. There’s a big glass wall at the back and big neon lights.

“I’m very excited. I only opened two weeks before the pandemic last year, so I feel like I have not had a fair run, so I can’t wait.”

A lot of measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus when shoppers return.

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Natalie, who sells clothes for women of all ages and sizes, said: “We have continued with our compliance with the Covid regulations, so there will be two-metre distances and we have marked the carpet. We have got hand sanitiser stations and we have policies in place so we are not really letting people try things on.

“Because we have customers that come from Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, what I am trying to do is put a policy together that allows people to try things on.

“I’m going to speak to the council about it. It’s to try something on and as soon as they do, it goes in the back for 72 hours, is re-steamed and goes back out, but we need to look into it more.”

Throughout lockdown, customers have been able to shop on Faith Boutique’s website and Natalie has been engaging with shoppers on social media.

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She has also raised money for Daffodils Dreams which supports vulnerable children and families in Wigan, by holding online auctions.

Natalie, who moved to Standish from Manchester four years ago, is looking forward to reopening the shop.

But she is also hoping for the day when all coronavirus restrictions are lifted, so she can provide the customer service she would like.

She said: “I am feeling optimistic. Although I can’t offer the full concept, which was all about customer service, and I am a very hands-on person so it’s having that barrier still, but it worked last time and I was still engaging with the customers.

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“I am hoping by June 21, if everything goes according to the road map, that maybe we might be able to touch.

That’s what I’m holding out for. I like to show them how to wear clothes, but I have to really hold back and it’s not a nice feeling.

“I am very optimistic. I think people are a bit bored now of online shopping.

“I am going to do everything I can to attract people, with events or giving people the reassurance because that’s important.

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“We will still have people who are a little bit reluctant to come out, so it’s about reassurance and trust.”

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