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Local businesswoman brings touch of ‘Bling’ to Four Seasons

 

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Success for Sarah as new shop opens 25 years after starting out

A local businesswoman who started out selling second hand clothing on a market stall 25 years ago has opened her first large store at Four Seasons Shopping Centre.

Sarah Parker, 44, opened Bling Boutique this weekend – two-and-a-half decades after leaving her university course to forge a career in the retail industry.

“I was working my way through university, taking old clothes and adding and improving them before selling them on at flea markets,” said Sarah, of Alfreton. “I was training to be a psychologist and although I was making enough to get by, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage doing everything. So, I decided to leave university and take this a bit more seriously.”

Sarah began buying up stock – including items returned to major high street chain stores – and adding new materials and decoration to them before selling on her creations. “I travelled to markets all around the country, and picked up all kinds of skills over the years,” she said. “At one point I even went to a cobbler’s to learn how to mend shoes.”

Sarah first brought her business to Four Seasons just over ten years ago, when she and her husband Mark began trading from a kiosk in the mall. “We worked on and off in the centre for about four years,” she said, “but when my husband died, Rebekah – the centre manager – offered me a permanent kiosk. Coming to work helped me get through that, and I’ve been here in the centre for the last seven years.”

Now selling new French and Italian clothing, Sarah and her partner Ryan Allsop have taken the plunge and opened the first Bling Boutique store at Four Seasons. “Ryan’s a builder and so he designed the concept and fitted out the shop, and we’re doing this as a joint venture,” said Sarah. “We’ve been really busy getting everything ready and we’re now just excited to be opening.”

Sarah was joined by Miss Mansfield Amy Beilby to officially open the new boutique on Saturday, 28 May.

“We’re specialising in one size French and Italian clothes, with a focus on being comfortable while stylish,” said Sarah. “We are also selling handbags and accessories, sourcing natural products and raw materials, and we’ll continue selling the high end hair products – for clipping or weaving – which have helped make the business a success.”

Rebekah O’Neill, Centre Manager at Four Seasons, said she was delighted that Bling Boutique had moved into a shop at the centre. “Sarah has been a valued part of the Four Seasons for a long time now, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s moving into her own premises,” she said.

“Her enthusiasm is infectious, and having seen the amazing job that she and Ryan have done fitting out the shop I have no doubt that they will be here for many years to come.”