Chloe James Lifestyle store, St Albans – #IndieRetail Success Story by @ChloeJamesStore

The Chloe James Lifestyle store was launched in St Albans in 2010 by Donna Nichol and Maria Allen. Whilst Donna had always dreamt of owning a shop, Maria took a little bit of persuasion – although coffee and cake did the trick! Both girls have a creative background – Donna in fashion buying and Maria in print design. They both love interiors, fashion and design in general and wanted to create something unique and exciting in this historic town.

About Chloe James Lifestyle

Chloe James store is in a charming Tudor building, complete with steep stairs and wonky walls, and positioned right on the historic St Albans High Street. With two floors of gorgeous fashion, unusual gifts, and stylish interiors, customers can enjoy browsing hundreds of beautiful items.

Just before their second birthday the Chloe James Lifestyle online shop was born allowing customers from far and wide to share the vision and procure the products. Rather like going through childbirth (the labour pain of many late nights spent adding hundreds of products to a website) they hope all that will soon be forgotten and they watch their baby grow and blossom into something amazing!!

Creating a new retail experience where no customer wants to leave empty handed!

On 14th July this year we celebrated our 2nd birthday by providing champagne and cakes for all our lovely customers! The delicious cakes were supplied by a new local cafe– The Bakehouse – so it was great to be able to give our customers a treat whilst promoting a new business at the same time. The shop was buzzing all day! We also ran a competition which was free to enter for every shopper – they just had to say what it is they like about shopping at Chloe James Lifestyle. The entries were a joy to read and we will be including a selection as testimonials on our website. It was hard to choose a winner but eventually we settled on ‘What can I say….. Chloe James is original, intriguing & somewhere I never leave empty-handed. Thank you for being in St Albans!’ The delighted winner collecting her prize – a Chloe James bag full of fantastic goodies  worth over £100!

This was written by Donna Nichol as part of our for sharing success stories – guest blog. For more information about the store see the links below for their webpage, facebook page and twitter account. 

About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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