David Leech from Pelham Puppets has been on a huge interviewing spree and continues the Hidden Gems of Stone series.
Part 3: Glitz in the Bag
“The handbag is a rare delight, it’s like Aladdin’s cave,
All sorts of things are hidden there, that ladies like to save.” *
Situated above Tylman of Stone, next to Fleur café is a place filled with a great variety of interesting and beautiful items. Glitz in the Bag has over 150 handbags on display and is owned and run by Nicola Lewis. Originally from Cheadle, Nicola has always wanted to have a shop in Stone since childhood, “My mother would bring me to Stone on shopping trips since we always liked it here and it seemed only natural to have my shop here rather than anywhere else.”
Glitz in the Bag is fashion accessory boutique and in addition to the bags Nicola stocks a large array of handbag related items, including colour coordinated purses, jewellery, scarves and gloves. Particularly appealing is the unique range of “Blooming Brollies” that have fibreglass built in to the umbrella frame, making them virtually indestructible. The umbrella canopies are printed to the highest quality and designs are eye catching and colourful and are certain to brighten any rainy day! All have a 12 month warranty and offer 80% UV protection too.
“Unlike the large department stores and fashion chains that block style their products, everything I have displayed is colour co-ordinated.” explains Nicola, “I’m able to offer customers a one-to-one service and advise how to ‘pull together’ a variety of accessories to create the ideal coordinated overall look. I often find that people are crying out for help and I can offer the individual level of support and service that people need.”
Nicola also provides a unique coordinating service too which is proving very popular. “If someone brings in a dress or a pair of shoes for example and they want to find accessories to match and I don’t have anything suitable in stock, I will find it for them, saving them many hours searching around large fashion stores and in travelling time and expense.” So, whether you are attending a wedding or a school prom, Nicola is the person to see. This is a free service that she offers but recommends that you allow up to two or three weeks to source and obtain suitable items for you.
She started trading last December and since then Nicola has built up a loyal customer base with people locally and from out of town. One customer recently said, “Glitz in the Bag is such a great shop with a friendly relaxed atmosphere and is definitely the place to go when you’re after a new accessory bag or gift. My scarf collection has grown rapidly since I’ve been visiting and I always receive a ‘fab’ service.”
Nicola has a background and lots of experience in retail. By the time she was seventeen she was a department manager in a High Street fashion store and has past work experience with the likes of New Look, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins both in customer service as well as behind the scenes working on commercial projects such as new store openings, staff training and managing induction programmes. She is a qualified MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) Practitioner and a SDI (Strength Development Inventory) Practitioner and serves as a volunteer mentor for the Business Enterprise Service that provides information and support for anyone wanting to set up their own business.
She is clearly passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about her own shop but she doesn’t over-reach herself with big ideas. “So many people when they first open a shop easily get carried away with the fantasy of having a large impressive business at great expense and it isn’t long before reality sets in and within months they find their business is not where they want it to be.” she said, “It was important for me not to start off with huge overheads, take time to research the market, choose the right premises and buy in good quality, appealing goods in at the right price.”
Since Nicola also attends a number of fashion shows throughout the year, (that raise funds for various charities,) she also has “a very good mum” who stands in for her when she needs to be away from the shop as well.
Of course, she hand picks everything for the shop by attending trade fairs and regularly visiting suppliers and intends to add bridal accessories to her ever increasing ranges in the near future.
As another very satisfied customer commented recently: “I really like the stock that Glitz in the Bag have to offer. At first glance, the shop seems small but the more you walk around you just keep seeing things that you have missed. I love that it’s all colour coordinated which makes it a lot easier to find and choose what you’re looking for.
I bought my mum’s and mum-in-law’s gifts for Mother’s Day and I took a friend with me, who also treated herself. It is definitely worth a visit.”
So before venturing off to face the hustle and bustle of larger towns and cities why not take a little time out yourself to uncover another “hidden gem” right on your own doorstep? And like a lady’s handbag, Stone itself is a rare delight, it’s like Aladdin’s cave, all sorts of things are hidden here – so why not shop and save?
Glitz in the Bag
2a Granville Square,
Tel: 07866 573396
Monday – Saturday : 9:30 – 16:30
[* from a poem online by Bridgid Patrick]