Big thank you from

Jenny Monroe talks to Jayne Crosby

Jayne CrosbyJAYNE Crosby, 34, owns 'Ginger Jay' ladies boutique in Saintfield. Having worked for a corporate firm for 15 years, Jayne decided the time was right to take the plunge and set up her own business two years ago. Fashion was an obvious choice for her as she has great passion in this area. She lives in Saintfield and is engaged to Paul.

I arrive at the shop at 9.15am, get myself organised and make sure the store is ship shape for the first customers arriving.

I do all the mundane tasks and I make a pot of coffee. I check emails and surf the internet looking at new styles. Orders and deliveries are checked and I price and steam any new clothes and get them ready for the rails.

Most of my day is spent dealing with customers. It is really good fun and my family are a big help to me.

I take a Monday off each week and use this free time to contact fashion agencies and arrange appointments to look at samples. This helps me decide what to buy for the different seasons. In the fashion business you really have to be organised and plan well ahead to make sure you are keeping up with the latest trends.

I then plan what I want to buy and go back to the agency to discuss styles, what does and doesn't work for my business and get ideas for colour and fabrics.

My customers can accessorise their outfits with jewellery which is sold on the premises by Gloria Greenwood. Her collection is hand made and exquisite. Many people buy an outfit and team it up with accessories from her collection. This saves them the hassle of having to go looking for matching pieces.

The business is growing and I am always on the look out for the right brands to be selling. I go along to a major fashion show once or twice a year to see what is coming up for thy seasons ahead. There's around 1000 brand,, to look at and I study them and try to find the ones that match what I am looking for.

I like to stock items that aren't in a lot of stores over here and outfits that suit my target market which is 25-55 although I do of course have customers who are not within this band. Stylists for magazines and models contact me to help them with their clients and I am often asked to supply clothes for local fashion shows. I normally put together 60 outfits and type up descriptions. The models are carefully fitted and the correct styles for them are chosen. I make a note of this and then on the day of the show I bring along the clothes, unpack them and steam them on the premises. The models are warned not to get makeup on the clothes and to treat them carefully.

After the hectic event the clothes are packed away and brought to the shop where we unload them and steam them again.

People often get in touch to buy something they have liked on a model. Seeing clothes on a model makes such a difference compared to just seeing something on a rail.

As a small shop I pride myself on trying to help people, especially choosing clothes that flatter their shapes.

The window display is very important and I try to change it every day. People see it when walking or driving by and it often encourages them to come in and have a look.

The shop closes at 6pm Monday to Saturday and 8pm on a Thursday and I tidy up and secure the premises before heading home. Running a business is very hard work but it is rewarding. I have a great family to help me and Paul is brilliant too and that has made all

Ulster Star