24 year-old maths graduate has launched her fashion retail business from a new Durham city centre location.
Newcastle University graduate Katie Pears has moved the business, which she started while studying, to the new prime location.
Katie founded Pears Boutique in 2009 and now stocks evening gowns, red carpet dresses, prom fashions and cocktail wear by design houses including Sherri Hill, Jovani, and La Femme at her Elvet Bridge shop.
Langley Moor-based entrepreneur said: “I’ve always had a strong work ethic. Even from the age of 16 I was working weekends in fashion shops in Durham to make extra pocket money.“
To help fund her maths degree Katie began selling jewellery at parties, travelling to and from trade fairs in Harrogate, London and Birmingham to replenish stocks and soon saw a gap in the market for a high end outlet selling good quality luxury items at affordable prices.
She added: “After extensive research I realised that I was not going to be able to sustain a business on jewellery alone.
“So I expanded into eveningwear contacting select designers in the UK and America to become an approved stockist.
“In my last year at university I set up the Pears Boutique website and, supported by my parents, began to sell online.“
With a house piled high in handbags and gladrags Katie and her family soon realised that they needed to look for premises for her expanding business.
“We approached a number of estates agents at the start of 2012 and were contacted by Jeff Seed at J W Woods who said that they had a shop available in Langley Moor,“ said Katie.
“They were extremely helpful so we just went for it straight away and we opened for trading in June 2012.
“The shop was really well supported by the local community and we built up a loyal clientele but after a year of trading we realised that we needed to look for bigger premises that could offer us greater footfall, a wider audience and room to expand.“
Once again Katie and her family contacted J W Wood who pulled out all the stops to find them one of the most sought after retail sites in the city on the historic Elvet Bridge.
Katie added: “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here but J W Wood found us exactly what we were hoping for. My whole family, mum, dad, sister and brothers have all pitched in, literally rolling up their sleeves, to help me get everything just right.
“We now have double the space of our last location so have been able to create a luxury dressing area for our customers and still have loads of room for all of our other fabulous collections including designer shirts, knitwear and tops.
“I’m still taking small steps in the business world but I love what I’m doing and hope that people will come and visit us in our new premises for something just that little bit special.“
Jeff added: “As local surveyors we were delighted to be able to help a local business expand and develop and to give them the presence their business really deserves at one of the most prestigious addresses in the city.“