Tuesday, 01 September 2015

Profit-split Carlisle baby boutique enjoys boom

A baby boutique with an unusual twist has been so successful that it has moved to bigger premises.

Carlisle boutique photo
Sarah and Nancy McKie

All the stock at Pixie and Bob’s in Carlisle is supplied by local people, who split the profits with the shop’s owners.

The idea has struck a chord with shoppers and sellers since the enterprise’s launch in April last year.

Such has been its success that the store has moved from its original home in Corporation Road to nearby West Tower Street.

They had so much stock coming through the doors that they needed more floorspace to display it all.

Mother and daughter partnership Sarah and Nancy McKie are behind Pixie and Bob’s and admit expansion comes with a risk, but hope it is one that will pay off.

They have revamped their new shop on a shoe-string and have taken on three part-time staff to help with the increased workload.

Sarah believes the shop’s launch – in the face of recession – has come at an opportune time. Increasing numbers of shoppers are turning to second-hand goods to save money, while sellers are looking to cash in further on their assets to make more.

Sarah McKie, who previously worked in market research, said: “Our new shop means we can display things over two floors.

“People seem to really appreciate the service we offer. Times are tough and people want to make a little extra money for themselves. They say working with us is easier than they themselves selling on auction websites.

“We really enjoy the job and hope everything works out.”

Money from the sale of each item is split 50/50 between the shop and those who bring them forward. Pixie and Bob’s stocks clothes, baby equipment and toys for tots aged from birth to five years.

Sarah added: “The stigma of buying second-hand is going away. What we sell has to be really clean.”

With Christmas approaching, she is hoping that more people will turn to the shop when looking to stock up on affordable presents.

And the increased floorspace has given them the opportunity to make the business more child-friendly.

“We want to make it easier for people to bring their children with them and relax while they look around,” Sarah said. “We now have a little play area.

“This is all about creating a service for young parents. It’s expensive being a parent. This gives them an opportunity to buy things without spending a lot of money.”

Pixie and Bob’s were one of the winners of last year’s Local Business Accelerators scheme, backed by The Cumberland News to promote fledgling firms.

Sarah said the support and mentoring they received through their success – impressing after they pitched to a Dragon’s Den-style panel of judges – has helped them build the business.


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