Anne Robertson from our Barnsley branch spoke to Claire Swallow, owner of Closet Queen in Barnsley which is a clothes shop offering fashion for ladies of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Claire opened her shop in Barnsley two and half years ago and moved to bigger premises in January. “It was bad timing really as we had to shut our new shop in March but luckily we already had an established online shop with a loyal customer base so I was able to focus my efforts on this” said Claire.

Claire furloughed her staff and fulfilled the online orders that she was getting from home. She also offered free deliveries on orders as an incentive.

One of the things Claire has done from the start is use social media as a way of showcasing her stock and this has paid dividends. “I continued to do a live video on Facebook every Tuesday during lockdown where I showcased the new stock that I had in and gave advice on putting together an outfit. I also thought about other ways that I could engage with my customers.  One of the things I did was a St Georges Day quiz which was really popular.”

Claire has kept close to the ever changing restrictions with regard to the pandemic and has used this to tailor the clothing lines that she offers to her customers. “During lockdown I focused on providing options for lounge wear as people were spending much of their time at home and now that restaurants and pubs can only open until 10pm  I have been putting together outfit ideas for an early meal out, so something smart but not too dressy.”

Post lockdown staff have been brought back from furlough. Things are a little quieter currently but Claire acknowledges that this is normal as the season changes. She is confident that now that schools are back and the weather is starting to get cooler people will start to want to look at their autumn wardrobe, and with the way things are going, lounge wear could be playing a big part again!

Anne Robertson who is branch manager at our Barnsley branch said “Claire’s shop has an excellent reputation far and wide. I have friends that come to Barnsley just to go to Closet Queen! It’s interesting how technology has played such a big role during the pandemic. We have also changed the way we are working and are conducting more business by video call and phone whilst keeping our branch open and adhering to the guidelines for keeping staff and customers safe.”

Main photo shows (from left to right) Joanna Sephton from our Barnsley branch, Claire Swallow, Owner of Closet Queen and Anne Robertson,  branch manager of our Barnsley branch.