Maria hopes Larbert Lavender Bags shop enjoys a purple patch

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You have got to have real dedication and enthusiasm to open your own business these days and one woman certainly has bags of both those qualities.

Maria Dickson (50) has taken the plunge into the retail sector after working for six years as a support for learning assistant at Larbert High School.

She just opened her Lavender Bags Boutique, selling handbags and accessories, at Unit C6 of the business park in Muirhall Road, Larbert.

“It’s a wee bit off the beaten track,” said Maria. “I started it from home last October, doing parties, events and charity days. People would order goods which I would either post or deliver to them.

“I really wanted to have a shop, but it was so difficult to find a premises. Prices were expensive and most people wanted me to sign up to a long term lease.”

Maria, from Larbert, found the perfect compromise in the Muirhall Road location, which may look stark on the outside, but once you enter the boutique itself and feast your eyes on the handbags and fashion items on display – and Maria’s trademark lavender colour scheme – you would think you were in a High Street retailer.

“That’s the ultimate goal, to get a shop front, a shop window to draw people in, but for the time being this is a dream for me. I worked in retail early in my life, in a shoe shop and in John Lewis, and loved it.”

Following her launch night last month, Maria has been getting the word out online she is open for business and ready to help her customers find just what they are looking for. “I buy the goods from wholesalers – buying what is in trend or things my customers have been asking for. I try to keep the prices reasonable – under £30 – because a lot of people don’t have spare money these days.

“I’m not targeting any particular market – there are items here which will suit younger girls or the more mature lady. And if someone is looking for something in particular I can try and source it for them.”

Lavender Bags Boutique is open Tuesday to Saturday – with late night opening hours on a Thursday.

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