A shop owner on Lark Lane said business was booming despite the cost of living crisis, but admitted it could be exhausting.
In April last year, Kate Graham, 29, moved from her vintage clothing stand at Red Brick Market to her own boutique, The Retro Room. She was visiting a flat on The Lane, which she now lives in, and walked past a woman painting a building and she saw the potential.
Kate said: “She [the owner] had 100 candidates, but she wanted retail, she didn’t want food, and there were only four retail candidates, and she gave it to me. That was two years ago, I had to wait a year for the shop to be finished as it was literally falling apart when she inherited it.
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The shop is aptly named “The Retro Room” and is a sustainable vintage clothing store that sells quirky and quirky accessories.
Walking down idyllic Lark Lane it’s instantly recognizable, with its brightly colored shop window, which fits in well alongside Freida Mo’s further down, which also sells vintage.
Kate originally had a dog grooming business in Ormskirk, having secured a grant from the Prince’s Trust. She ran it for a year or two, but then developed Crohn’s disease and had to close the business.
She said: “When I was sick, my friend had a vintage clothing store and I started making crystal jewelry and selling it in her store. She was like ‘I’m going to close the store, I can’t care.’ And I loved vintage anyway, I bought a lot of vintage from him and then started selling it online.
After an operation, she still had the lease on her own shop, a covered market stall in Ormskirk, and reopened it selling vintage clothing and jewelry, transforming it within months.
She added: “I couldn’t do physical work because I was still pretty bad, I was just doing vintage clothes and jewelry and I loved it, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is what I want to do “. “
She then moved to Red Brick Market when the lease ended in Ormskirk and remained there for five years. She moved to Liverpool during the pandemic and bought her current flat on Lark Lane. She opened the store on April 10.
Many businesses are struggling to stay open amid the cost of living crisis, but due to the area’s popularity among locals and tourists, the store has seen a generous number of customers.
She said: “It’s very busy, everyone is so solid. I’m a gay-owned business, everyone who works here is gay. And I think it’s also very welcoming here and it’s nice to have a safe space for them and for us. It’s for everyone, but it’s fun. Here, people are a little more open.
However, she also said she brings work home and it can get tiring.
The business owner said, “I am f****** exhausted. I don’t feel like you’re stopping work, and I don’t want to. You’re fighting with yourself for not feeling like you’ve done enough or that you need to do more, there’s that one last thing you need to do.
“Even though I feel like I’m sitting at home on my phone, I’m still working around the clock, especially with a chronic illness. It’s quite hard.
Although the shop is booming at the moment, Kate still sometimes has her doubts.
She said: ‘I’m lucky the attendance is good here and it’s busy but there’s always this worry, like ‘What if I can’t pay my bills this month or pay my rent? To be honest, I did very well and shocked myself every month how well we did.
She has also taken on two staff members over the past year and added: ‘Obviously they’re both part time but that’s just crazy. I know it’s a cost of living crisis, but also, people still need to heal, and it’s good that people still do.
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