The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

A fab­u­lous first year

Sonya An­gus tells P&J Re­cruit­ment how her Cults-based start-up has smashed fi­nan­cial tar­gets, sup­ported the lo­cal com­mu­nity and, most im­por­tantly, be­come a big hit with lo­cal shop­pers

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The bou­tique in Cults, Aberdeen, owned by Sonya An­gus

My rea­son for start­ing my busi­ness dates back to my child­hood – own­ing my own bou­tique has been a dream since I was a 16-yearold girl (com­plete with permed hair and double braces on my teeth, of course) work­ing in Opus One – a beau­ti­ful Ed­in­burgh trea­sure trove sell­ing to won­der­fully stylish ladies. It was in a very exclusive area and there was noth­ing else quite like it. I was men­tored by the in­cred­i­ble Mrs B and learned my craft with­out re­al­is­ing.

From there, aged just 19, I se­cured a Jen­ners trainee­ship and went on to man­age mil­lion-pound bud­gets, travel the world and rub shoul­ders with big brands. A move to Aus­tralia beck­oned and I dis­cov­ered a “golden touch” for styling homes, af­ter be­ing head­hunted to work as a buyer for a 40-store home­ware brand. Re­turn­ing to Scot­land, I was part of the launch team for Molton Brown’s flag­ship Ed­in­burgh store.

Then my hus­band’s work brought us to Aberdeen and it was fi­nally time to pur­sue my teenage dream. I opened the bou­tique be­cause as I saw a gap in the mar­ket for a cosy haven full of lux­ury gifts, fur­ni­ture and in­te­ri­ors that were, firstly, af­ford­able and, se­condly, pieces shop­pers would be un­likely to see else­where in Aberdeen. My four years in Aberdeen be­fore start­ing the busi­ness were in­valu­able – I knew the mar­ket and I knew my cus­tomers.

So, Sonya An­gus: Gifts, Fur­ni­ture and In­te­ri­ors launched in De­cem­ber 2016 and – I’m de­lighted to say it – rapidly be­came a big hit. Turnover dur­ing our first four weeks was double what was pro­jected and, as a re­sult, I quickly in­creased my open­ing hours and took on staff. Six months in, we ex­ceeded turnover ex­pec­ta­tions by 31.25% and, within a year, I’d sur­passed the £100,000 mark – hav­ing only ex­pected to make £78,000 at the most.

Last year con­tin­ued to de­liver great things for me and the shop. I scored a whole host of ex­cit­ing new home­ware, gift and in­te­ri­ors sup­pli­ers – double what I ex­pected and many exclusive to my shop within Aberdeen.

My beau­ti­ful col­lec­tion in­cludes preloved, up­cy­cled and new fur­ni­ture, as well as high-qual­ity in­te­ri­ors, home ac­ces­sories, spe­cial oc­ca­sion gifts and jew­ellery. Stock changes ev­ery sea­son, with treats from trusted sup­pli­ers sourced from my lit­tle black book, which dates back to my Jen­ners days – the likes of Re­treat, So­phie All­port, Austin Sloan Signs and An­nie Sloan Chalk Paints are firm cus­tomer favourites.

Any­way, I ended the year on a def­i­nite high, be­ing crowned Re­tail’s Ris­ing Star at the 2017 Evening Ex­press Awards, dou­bling my ex­pected turnover dur­ing Novem­ber and find­ing out that I’d raised £500 for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scot­land through my spe­cial client evenings, where I en­ter­tain my cus­tomers with fizz and guest ap­pear­ances by lo­cal en­trepreneur­s.

And, as if I’m not busy enough, there are two other el­e­ments to my busi­ness – a be­spoke home styling ser­vice and my fash­ion ad­vi­sory brand, Prêt A Porter. Fo­cus­ing on these, while grow­ing the shop fur­ther, makes 2018 look like it’s go­ing to be an­other fab­u­lous year.

 ??  ?? Bou­tique owner Sonya An­gus
Bou­tique owner Sonya An­gus
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