An inquisitive glance at an empty property turned into a business opportunity for a redundant Sheffield employee.
Lana Barker, who lost her job at the city’s John Lewis after 20 years, has turned her retail dream into reality after opening her new body positive lingerie shop The Woman In Me in Crookes.
The new boutique shop specialises in women’s lingerie and bras from 30AA to 42JJ plus post surgery, maternity and nursing bras and also includes a bra recycling bank for Action Against Breast Cancer and a safe breastfeeding space.
Sheffield’s Wake Smith Solicitors advised on the lease for the 428 sq ft two-room shop for Lana, who already hopes to expand into lines including swimwear, nightwear and sustainable clothing.
Lana said: “I saw the shop was available and an inquisitive glance turned into a business opportunity.
“I had worked in an independent lingerie shop way back so I had a bit of insight into working in the sector, but was not clued up on business in general.
“It was perfect timing having been made redundant from John Lewis, so I funded it with my redundancy money and started liaising with suppliers. Sheffield has lost House of Fraser, John Lewis and Debenhams for places to buy affordable lingerie so I am filling a gap.
“Since I opened it has been going really well and the reception we have received has been brilliant. I am working with customers to meet their individual needs and being inclusive in my buying choices for bigger sizes.
“My lesson here was to keep motivated, see hurdles as a redirection to another opportunity and to stay positive.”
Lana is now working with brands including Sheffield made brand Panache, Pour Moi, Triumph, Royce, Hot Milk and Sloggi.
Laura Sanderson, associate in Wake Smith’s commercial property team, advised on the lease. She said: “We were really pleased to provide the legal support on the lease requirements for Lana. Her redundancy experience has lead to a great opportunity for her, and a very positive outcome.”
Lana added: “Laura at Wake Smith Solicitors provided such a great service. She was efficient, answered all my queries, even before I took the plunge on the lease, and kept me up to date with everything. Not having had any experience of renting a property before, Laura explained everything and took all the worry away.”