Belle’s Star Business of the Month – March 2014

The Star: Leanne WoodBelle's Clothing and Acessories

Description: Belle’s sells second hand clothing and new jewellery. We have a range of both men’s and women’s clothing, some still with tags on.  Don’t forget my accesorised shoes too.

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Leanne Wood - Belle's Sandwich

Belle’s ~ Preloved clothing and accessories is run by me – Leanne Wood. How I work it, is a little bit like a dress agency. For those of you who are not familiar with this concept, people bring me their preloved clothes and I sell them on a 50/50 basis. I find this works well, as I have no outgoings and really feel that recycling is the way forward…

Belle’s is situated in Sandwich on the premises of Delf Farm Shop which is run by my Auntie and Uncle. Having seen how their business works has always interested me and sparked my interest to start up on my own. After leaving school I just wasn’t keen on the idea of going to University due to the high costs and the uncertainty of a job after graduating. So I felt starting a business was the right option for me. Creating employment for yourself is hard work, and there is a lot to learn but I enjoy it and there is a huge amount of self satisfaction that comes with it.

As everybody knows, the economic climate at present is lacking a little confidence, so I wanted to accomplish two objectives:
1. To start my own business
2. Bring more customers to the farm shop.
I am a great believer that diversification is a key element to helping a business survive. That’s where my idea for Belle’s came in. It’s something quirky, useful and a little bit different and puts a whole new twist on why customers will want to pop in and visit the site.

Belle's Customised Shoes SandwichNo business start-up can run entirely smooth and I have had my fair share of hurdles to overcome. The main problem I had was a battle with the council over planning permission, which has recently been approved after nine gruelling months. It was difficult to advertise the business whilst this case was in process as I could not be certain of the future of my business.

Word of mouth advertising has been bringing in most of my customers but the next step for me is to plan and implement a large advertising campaign. I am looking to print and distribute leaflets, increase my presence on social media and to really engage with my customers I’ll hold various open days. The Mayor of Sandwich has been a huge support and even voiced his approval towards a large chain of Belle’s preloved stores… So who knows? Onwards and upwards.

Oh and don’t forget my customised shoes, these are absolutely fantastic for weddings, proms, parties or maybe just an everyday splash of bling.

My one and only business tip that I could give would be: No matter what stands in your way; Overcome it. Don’t move around the mountain, climb it. Never -ever- give up on your dreams.


February 28, 2014

Well done, and good luck with the business, Leanne.

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