Having just watched the Netflix Series “Girlboss” (maybe slightly behind the times!) and being inspired by Sophia Amoruso’s rise in the fashion industry – starting NastyGal from her bedroom and how she grew it into the Multi-million dollar company it is today. I realised, that I am actually lucky enough to work alongside a Girl Boss of our very own!
Here at The Alphabet Gift Shop we have our very own Boss Lady, Sue Dorling, who has been at the helm of our business for almost 25 years!
Like so many other small business owners, Sue started the business back in 1996 for her dining room table. She wanted to do something she loved whilst working around her kids and the dreaded school run (8,6 & 3 years old at the time).
At this time, the business was called Sweaty Sue’s. Sue designed and manufactured fleece jumpers selling them at school fairs and through Sweaty Sue party’s (think a body shop party but for fleece jumpers).
The business quickly expanded taking over not only the dining room, but the entire garage, the kids playroom and the conservatory as well! With exciting stores such as Harrods and Mothercare stocking her products. The business was going from strength to strength.
By 2008, Sue’s house was bursting at the seams (literally) and it was finally time to move out!
A small, country cottage in the Derbyshire village of Mickleover was the perfect place. After quite a renovation (and an extension or two) this little cottage became The Alphabet Gift Shop as you know it today!
Opening its doors in 2008, Sue was no longer just designing products for other shops but for her own shop too!
The gift shop grew and grew and a few years later it was time to move the design side of the business elsewhere so the gift shop could expand even more! In 2013 Sue set her sights on the market town of Burton-on-Trent…. after another renovation of an old pub (The Union for any locals out there!) the next gift shop opened (and the design studio took over the upstairs!).
This time around there was also room for a coffee shop as well and so started the next stage of the company Lowercase Coffee Bar (with Uppercase Coffee Shop quickly following suit at the original Mickleover store).
Today, the company consists of two gift shops, two licensed coffee shops and the design studio is still going strong, making and designing personalised gifts for online channels such as Not on the Highstreet as well as for the gift shops themselves.
Sue truly is our very own #bosslady or #girlboss (or however you want to say it) and has led the female dominated business from strength to strength!
Maybe Sue will have her very own Netflix documentary before you know it?