Aura, an independent women’s fashion and lifestyle boutique in Beverley, recently celebrated its second birthday, and founder Abi Dee is thankful for the growing support this year.
She tells us how this ‘rollercoaster’ of a year means she has faced many challenges, but says she’s learnt a lot during this time. ‘It has been hard, especially as we are still such a new business, but our loyal and fabulous customers have kept us going,’ she says. ‘They really have been overwhelmingly supportive this year and we couldn’t have got through it without them. It’s been a year of adapting, accepting challenges and not letting anything defeat us.’
Thankfully, Aura was able to keep trading, and have used their own creativity to think of new ways to keep going – particularly in the digital world. ‘We were lucky enough to have our website, so we continued to push sales online, but also via social media which has proved invaluable,’ explains Abi. ‘Getting creative helped, plus stepping out of our comfort zone – we sold via styling videos and FaceTime appointments, and also offered a free home drop-off service for our local customers. We have also found a growing support and appreciation for independent retailers, and it has been truly amazing to watch this grow within Beverley, and all over the UK.’
Whether new or old, their loyal customers have continued to support the boutique in any way they can – buying products or simply emailing well-wishes. ‘We even had a customer drop off some cakes and flowers to the shop the other day,’ Abi
recalls. ‘So thoughtful. Lots of customer interaction through social media has kept us going, too.’ Abi hopes the support for small and local retailers continues. ‘Strong independent traders are the heartbeat and spirit of our towns,’ she says. ‘I realise national retailers also have a huge role to play, but independents offer something unique and bespoke, and people will always enjoy going out to shop, touch, feel and try on – all the things you don’t get from online shopping.’
Abi plans to make the best of Christmas for both Aura and her customers with gift ideas galore – but there are challenges ahead.
‘We are facing another tough trading time ahead of Christmas,’ she says. ‘With the lack of Christmas parties, dining out and the unknown of what Christmas will be like this year, our customers will not be buying the same way they have in previous years – but this will not stop us. We will continue to do our best and find new ways for our customers to shop. Whether it’s to do their Christmas shopping or to treat themselves to something new to get through a lockdown, we will be there to help.’
What other independents should we check out near you?
We have so many fabulous independents in Beverley it is hard to name just a few, but I would say The Modern Draper for the guys, The Pamperhouse for all things gifts, Lighting & Living Beverley for the house and The Pig & Whistle for delicious food and wine.
Yorkshire puddings with Christmas dinner – yes or no?
It’s a no from me (sorry!).
What’s your favourite Christmas film?
That’s hard… I would say Elf or The Grinch.
Best place in Yorkshire for a Boxing Day walk?
Beverley Westwood, of course.