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Illustrator Katie Cardew opens shop in Mill Street, Oakham

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For a business owner, 2021 has been a milestone year with the launch of two shops.

Illustrator Katie Cardew launched her first shop in St Mary’s Street, Stamford in July, and just a few months later has welcomed customers to her second store in Mill Street, Oakham.

The shop was opened on Thursday last week, and has already broken company records for the busiest weekend of trading.

Katie Cardew at her new shop in Oakham
Katie Cardew at her new shop in Oakham

Katie, 31, said: “I knew I wanted a second store to be in another independent market town similar to Stamford.

“Oakham is just far enough away to keep them separate.

“The building also has offices above the shop which is a big draw, as well as Mill Street being such a lovely independent place.

Katie and her team Sally, Lucy, Julian and Emma
Katie and her team Sally, Lucy, Julian and Emma

“I think it will really fit in as we have a subtle, quirky, British theme.”

For Katie, it has been a big change launching two shops within a short space of time, having previously only had items for sale online or at events.

“It’s been madness but really fun,” she said.

“I think it’s one of the most satisfying things to take a shop from nothing when it’s just an empty shell, to doing all the fitting and filling it with colour and life.

Katie and her team, Sally, Julian, Emma and Lucy
Katie and her team, Sally, Julian, Emma and Lucy

“Then seeing people come in and buy the products, for me, there couldn’t be anything more satisfying.”

For Katie, there has been lots of lessons to learn through the shop openings, including that things take longer than initially thought, that a strong vision is key and the importance of lighting and product placement.

“It has definitely been a learning curve but Stamford put us in good stead for Oakham,” said Katie.

The Katie Cardew store in Oakham
The Katie Cardew store in Oakham

Similarly to in Stamford, the Oakham shop boasts a feature window, which is currently decorated in a festive Christmas theme.

Katie, most of the time, will be leaving the shop in the capable hands of her staff while juggling looking after her children, running workshops and designing at her King's Cliffe studio alongside managing the business.

She said: “It’s been a bit chaotic and I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t work at weekends as much as I can so I keep things balanced, the kids happy and stay creative.

“Working too much can make you lose your creativity.

“My shop staff have been amazing.”

While two shops is enough for this year, Katie is exploring plans for her next shop.

“I’m always on the look our for another store somewhere full of independent shops, possibly Cambridge,” she said.

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