A few weeks ago some of the Local Life team popped into Tarporley-based women’s fashion boutique, Follies. We had a catchup with Kate Crisp, the founder, and her daughter Eliza.
Kate, a born entrepreneur, started Follies 33 years ago in what was essentially a box room. That room as of 2023 makes up the till area of what is now a multi-floor wonderland of fashion! Follies is a favourite with locals being the go-to boutique for many, it’s also the second most searched-for business in Tarporley!
“It was five years before I saw a penny,” Kate shared, “but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”
Launching thanks to a £5k investment from the bank of Mum, Kate’s mother went on to work in the business for 21 years! This spirit of entrepreneurship has clearly passed on to her daughter Eliza, who now works in the business too, admitting “I’m learning more here than on my business and media fashion course”.
Kate told us about the next generation who she feels are keen to explore local shopping saying, “they love the vibe of indie businesses over the cookie-cutter global chains and see value in the effort that independent businesses like us put in”, and we couldn’t agree more!
“People are shocked when they step into Follies,” Kate grined, “They see the shop window and think they’ve got us figured out, but inside it’s like stepping into the Tardis!”
Kate’s got a tight-knit relationship with her suppliers too, which means Follies customers get a tailored service that big retailers can’t match. From what we saw it’s the equivalent of having a personal shopper – something that just doesn’t exist on clone high streets. Kate likes for her regulars to call and have a chat with her, creating a personal and unique experience for her customers.
During our time chatting with Kate and Elise, it’s clear that everybody in the room agreed that the lack of personalisation from big retailers is a “faff” and inconvenience. We’re left wondering where’s the customer service?!
Kate gave a shout-out to The Little Tap, a local restaurant and bar. “Everything is locally sourced and best of all – he (Miles, the owner) makes his gin called ‘Silver Linings’, which was a lockdown pivot. It’s pear-based, just like Tarporley’s old name ‘Peartree on the hill”.
Kate had us in stitches when she shared a recent chat with Miles who claimed to be the future Follies creative director, naming the colour of pink in the top she wore recently as ‘red sock in the wash’!
As we left Follies, we were buzzing from the energy of Kate and Eliza. Their passion, their humour, their heart. It’s clear to see why Follies is such a hit. And if our visit was any indication, the future of Follies is sure to be a sensational spectacle. Small business owners, run, don’t walk to visit Follies to see small business done well.