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50 Years of Sue Parkinson

A staple of their Cirencester high street, independent fashion and homeware boutique Sue Parkinson is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month.

Situated in the heart of the Cotswolds is Cirencester-based family-run Sue Parkinson. Established back in 1973, the independent fashion and homeware boutique is celebrating its 50th anniversary, a half-century staple of its high street, this month.

“It's a close knit town, so most of the time we'll run into someone we know or one of our lovely customers while we’re out and about on our lunch breaks - we know them very well” Says owner Sue. “We're very much led by our hearts rather than our heads - not perhaps the traditional way to run a business, but it's always worked for us.”

From bohemian-inspired dresses from Aspiga and Samantha Cameron-owned Cefinn to classic homeware pieces from Nkuku and Marimekko, Sue Parkinson curates an eclectic collection of contemporary and timeless pieces set to be your new favourites.

Join us as we chat to Sue about how the shop’s origins, her hard working wardrobe heroes and how the boutique has evolved over the last 50 years.

“We're lucky to have our store right in the heart of Cirencester, on the main high street, opposite the impressive church and surrounded by loads of other brilliant independent businesses. The first Sue Parkinson boutique opened in Broadway in 1973, and this was followed by two other stores in the same village, and a Cirencester flagship store in 2009. The shop came into our possession, and it just progressed from there. That same year we chose to let go of the Broadway side of the business and focus purely on our Cirencester boutique and our growing website, and we’ve been growing ever since.”

“I sort of fell into retail when I inherited the shop after previously working in the civil service. When I first took it over, I wanted to create a destination that not only inspired women but also made them feel great. I was initially making clothes and confectionery to create stock, and this naturally grew into a lifestyle store selling gifts, clothes and homewares - a concept that no one else was doing at that time.”

“Our ethos has always been about making our customers and their homes look and feel great  - and that has never changed; it's the basis of our whole business.  Fashion has become much more buy-now-wear-now, and of course the rise of social media means that people are much more aware of how they look, which has changed the fashion industry. Interiors have also become more trend-driven which has been an opportunity for many of our homeware brands. The first thing people usually say about our store is how good it smells; we stock a mix of amazing cult fragrances and somehow we've created a signature scent from all of them together.”

“Our team all love what they do, and it shows. My daughter Sally is definitely an early bird - she's usually been up and merchandised the store long before anyone else's alarms have gone off. Then the team will be in before the store opens to familiarise themselves with any new arrivals and get up to speed with any of our repeat customers who may stop by. It's usually go, go, go from the moment the doors open to closing time! Our store manager, Jayne, is always on hand to get stuck into styling - she's incredible at finding pieces that customers feel amazing in, even if it wouldn't have been what they'd have picked out themselves. Sally has an incredible encyclopaedic knowledge of our stock so I know that our boutique is in the very best hands with her.”

“Our best selling pieces are usually the modern classics; denim and shirting will always do well for us as in reality that's what people wear the majority of the time. However a great, hard-working dress will always be a hit, too. When it comes to homewares, wine glasses and cushions are great core pieces - and we cater for so many interior styles. At the moment, I'm really into Cefinn - the latest edit we have just received in-store is cut so beautifully.”

“The Cotswolds is such a beautiful place to start with, but it's always been important to us that we're surrounded by other lovely, independent businesses - and we were very lucky in that respect in both Broadway and Cirencester. We love the fact that a shopping trip to our town means a really diverse and unique mix of stores - run by amazing people who are our friends as well as our customers. You'll find things here  you may not find anywhere else and that is a huge part of Cirencester's identity.” Trusted Site