"I have been surprised by the success of the retail side of it"
PUBLISHED: 11:01 11 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:02 11 May 2018
New Sudbury craft and gift shop is ducking the trend on the High Street.
Despite the national gloom on the High Street, there is still life - and successful shopping - in our market towns.
Just six months after its launch a Sudbury niche shop has more than 20 local suppliers of hand-made artisan goods and has shown that a High Street retail store can still succeed despite the difficult economic conditions.
Local artist and mother of two Sarah-Marie Underhay launched Duck in Boots in the Grade II listed shop in King Street, last November just two weeks after giving birth to her second child, Rose.
The listed building was well known as former Sudbury EADT office.
The response to the idea of a shop offering crafts people the opportunity and space to showcase and sell their own individual hand-made products has clearly demonstrated the need for such an outlet.
“I’m delighted with the shop’s progress,” she said. “We’ve had wonderful feedback and it’s great to be able to support and encourage so many other small businesses.
“We had a detailed commercial business plan, in order to get a Government-backe start-up loan.
“We are already hitting our targets, and in some cases exceeding them.
“It has been absolutely briliant.
“I have been surprised by the success of the retail side of it. I didn’t expect retail to be as popular as it is.”
Mrs Underhay said she had great support from her husband, Gavin, who is the accountant for the business.
She upcycles furniture, and makes wall art and a range of hand-painted children’s gifts - including her signature ducks in boots.
“The ducks are very popular, including wedding ducks in specially chosen colours and styles.”
The range of items in the shop now on offer covers everything from scented soy candles and wax melts, cosmetically approved bath bombs and bath salts, crochet gifts and decor, bespoke semi-precious stone handmade jewellery, hand painted jewellery, polymer clay dishes, knitted cosies, soft furnishings and cat toys to fresh free-range duck eggs, handmade Hungarian shortbread and high-end men’s shaving and beard care products, to name just some of the vast selection of items.
Customers also have the convenience of being able to shop either online at https://duckinboots.co.uk/sudbury-shop or using a click and collect service or in the store, she added.
As well as being a shop selling homewares, soft furnishings, toys and gifts, Duck in Boots offers crafters the opportunity to run their own regular workshops and teaching sessions for both adults and children at the store.
The shop opens six days a week, only closed on Sundays, where these can be special events and craft workshops held.
“We are taking part in several events, including Suffolk Day, and are looking to our own event at the centre soon,” added Mrs Underhay.