After working in the public sector for 30 years, Marcelle Fletcher decided it was time for a change. She moved from London to Bristol in February 2015 and decided that she was going to make a fresh start and set up a fashion boutique. Swapping her previous career working as a senior manager in the public sector for running a small independent boutique was obviously a huge change, but one that Marcelle wasn’t afraid to make.
One of her close friends runs a successful fashion boutique in Peckham, London and the idea was to set up a similar boutique in Bristol with a focus on products from ethical and sustainable sources, differentiating her not only from her friend’s business model, but from competitors in Bristol.
Movement Boutique Bristol officially opened on 1 March 2016 but it has been a long road travelled to get the business to this point. The business is an independent lifestyle boutique selling womenswear, menswear, accessories, apothecary and home ware. The products and brands sold in the boutique are created using ethical and sustainable sources, including some clothing ranges using only natural and organic fabric.
Stocking brands that commit to providing a wage that will give their employees a sustainable life is something that Marcelle is extremely passionate about. A brand stocked called Sidai Design’s jewellery is made by Masia trible women using recycled plastics like beads and yoghurt pots, held together with the thread from grain bags and soft leather. Producing the pieces of jewellery goes someway to providing thsee women and their families with a sustainable life.
Marcelle found out about the support available from the Business West Start & Grow team after attending one of the popular Business Planning and Finance workshops that take place across the region. Being able to secure match funding was crucial to her business becoming a reality and by attending this workshop Marcelle was able to make the right contacts to kick start the application process.
The team at Business West helped her to develop a detailed business plan which was a key factor to securing the loan. The £25,000 received from Virgin StartUp was used to stock the business with a great range of products from the ethical and sustainable brands that make the boutique unique.
As part of the support received, Marcelle was also provided with a mentor who is supporting her to make the business a success.
“My business couldn't have achieved similar results if I hadn’t taken part in the Start & Grow programme, the support has been crucial to the development of my business.”
Marcelle Fletcher, Movement Boutique Bristol
The boutique currently employs one member of staff on a freelance, part-time basis; however the plan is, as the business becomes more established, they will be added to the payroll with full employment rights and pension funding. Marcelle is focused on establishing the boutique and she is breaking even each month. The boutique currently has repeat customers, however attracting new customers is crucial to its long term success. Marcelle has also sought support to develop a robust social media strategy with the hope of reaching new potential customers through various social platforms including Facebook and Instagram.
The potential for new product lines is something that Marcelle is also interest in, however this will require more funding, as the business is currently depending on sales alone for funds. Having two members of staff on the pay roll by the end of the year is Marcelle’s target; giving her support at busy periods and on the weekends.
Movement Boutique Bristol has launched strongly with fantastic brands and great range of different products. The continued support and advice from the team at Start & Grow and the passion Marcelle has for the Boutique stands it in good stead for the challenging months that may lie ahead, as it looks to establish itself as one of Bristol’s top independent fashion retailers.