Ashley's new shop combines clothes for babies with a tanning salon
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
A YOUNG mum, who turned a search for baby clothes for her son into a thriving business, has moved her online venture to the high street in Barnard Castle.
Ashley McNaughton, 26, from Evenwood, found it difficult to find “cool” clothes as she prepared to give birth a year-and-a-half ago and as a result set up a web business selling contemporary-styled baby outfits she had discovered from across the world.
Initially Ms Naughton used social media to showcase the different clothing ranges she discovered, building up large numbers of followers on Instagram and Facebook and customers for the mail order ranges.
She said: “It went fantastically well and I’ve had customers from all over. I even had a customer from Kazakhstan who made a big order. That took nearly six weeks to get to them but they were over the moon.
“I had a website built as well but it got to the point my house was so full of stock I had to do something.”
She explained the amount of stock she kept on hand for orders meant her home was full to the brim with baby and toddler clothes.
And in a reversal of many larger retailers that opt to go online, Ms Naughton has tailed off her online business for the moment to concentrate on getting her new store in Market Place up and running. The business is called Tan Baby – the shop was given the name because there is also a tanning salon for adults.
She added: “I’ll be stocking clothes for children up to six but I’m concentrating on the age range of new-borns up to three years. But I can order things up to ten years if someone requests it.”
Ms McNaughton will have a range of clothing including Spanish and US brands that have proved popular with her online customers, as well as modern, contemporary clothing. There will also be a range of traditional knitted and crochet items.
“My gran, Joyce, crochets and knits and she has been doing a lot for me online. When I said I was opening the shop she wanted to have an input.”
Young mums visiting the shop will be able to pamper their newborns with clothes and get a treat themselves at the salon.
Ms McNaughton added: “I’ve always been a fan of sun beds and I’ve done a lot of research on these as they are the kindest on the skin. There are still some risks from sun beds, but we’ve also got a good range of products to help moisturise.”
There will be a stand-up booth and a lie down bed in the salon behind the main shop.
Customers will be given luxury skin wipes and there will be a range of lotions and moisturisers for sale.
The shop is open from Monday to Saturday, but Ms Naughton says Sunday appointments will also be available.
“After Christmas I will be looking to be open seven days a week but until then while I get things sorted, Sundays will be by appointment only.”