It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were welcoming Caro boutique to Bramhall village, does it? But in fact, one of our favourite indie fashion stores is already turning 2 at the end of March! We caught up with owner Caroline Fry to find out how the Bramhall boutique’s loyal following have helped keep Caro in business over the last year.
Back in March 2019, Caro on Bramhall Lane South opened its doors to a rapturous welcome. Caroline took over the premises that once housed clothing shop Sorella, and transformed the space into a bright, airy boutique, well stocked with handpicked sustainable European and British brands.
Caro’s first year in business was a great success, with customers flocking from Bramhall and further afield to browse the clothing, jewellery and home fragrances on offer. With that all-important first year nailed, Caroline was anticipating what 2020 would bring – little did any of us know it would be a global pandemic.
When the first lockdown was announced, just before Caro was due to celebrate their first birthday, the boutique closed its doors, ready to wait out the storm. Caroline spent a welcome month at home, enjoying quality time with her family, before she realised that it would be some time yet before the storm would pass. So, she decided to knuckle down and get back to business – albeit in the virtual world.
Working on her website and social media pages, Caroline moved all of her stock online, getting products in front of her customers the only way she could. As it turned out, going online became a lifeline – Caroline was able to interact with followers, arrange deliveries and drop off orders, which gave her the opportunity to engage with both existing and new customers at a safe distance. With Covid-safe protocols in place, Caro customers have been able to request their wishlists, which Caroline delivers to be tried on. Unwanted pieces are then collected and kept to one side for a period of time in line with Covid guidance. Caroline prides herself on customer service – it’s natural to her to offer this kind of convenience and flexibility at a time when non-essential shopping is so restricted.
Community-minded Caroline says she’s immensely grateful to her customers in Bramhall who have supported the boutique during an unbelievably challenging year, spreading the word about Caro so that news has travelled to other areas like Heaton Mersey, Wilmslow, Poynton and Didsbury.
“I’m really proud to have survived this last year, and it’s all thanks to my loyal customers both here and online,” Caroline says. “It’s been a tough year for all of us but I’m so grateful to still be here. Virtual markets have been a huge help in keeping business ticking over but also in spreading awareness of Caro. Being a Bramhall resident myself I’m absolutely committed to buying from many of our local businesses in the village – I want to support the place where I live.”
Caro marks its second birthday on March 29th 2021, and while the fun and festivities won’t be happening in store, Caroline says she can’t wait to celebrate in April when the boutique can open its doors once again.
“I’d love to see everyone in April – come in, have a chat and a browse, bring the children! Everyone is welcome here, there’s no pressure to buy. We even have a lovely fluffy bench and books to keep little ones entertained.”
In the meantime, there’s plenty of stock to browse on the website, with all autumn/winter pieces now slashed by 50% to make way for some beautiful spring/summer collections. Among the new lines are some delicate and floaty pieces from British brand Traffic People, a great range of ever-flattering Salsa jeans (ideal for hiding lockdown lumps and bumps), and unique, edgy items from Danish brand Nu Denmark.
Other brands in stock include Carmela footwear – mid-range, all leather boots and shoes -loungewear brand Don’t Tell Mama, Emu Australia, who produce gorgeous fluffy slippers, and local organic Cheshire brand Personalitee. Alongside clothing and footwear, Caroline also stocks independent home and jewellery brands like Naomi Joy Living and iCandi Rocks – ideal if you’re looking for a special gift.
Watch this space for more information about Caro’s second birthday celebrations – we’ll certainly be popping across in April to see what’s new in store, we hope you’ll join us! For now, head over to the website or social media pages to browse what’s on offer, or to get in touch with Caroline directly.