Baby boutique born in lockdown welcomes first customers
- Credit: Supplied by Kerry Haynes
Out of what has seemed like the high street's darkest years, a new business has established itself in Hitchin.
The town's newest business, Cloud Nine Baby Boutique, opened on Bancroft on April 12 as many other businesses in Hitchin opened their doors once more.
Owner Kerry Haynes told the Comet that the feedback she's had in her first week of trading has given her hope for the weeks and months ahead.
She said: "I'm very optimistic. I'm one of these people that just thinks that you've got to have a go, and it's better to live life with no regrets. I'd rather try and fail than not try and regret it."
With over two decades of experience in the baby market, Kerry and her team hope to bring a unique set up to the people of Hitchin and the surrounding towns and villages.
"When you have a baby and you're pregnant, it's quite a daunting time. It's exciting, but it's a nervous excitement," she said.
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She added that parents can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of products available to them, and that Cloud Nine will be honest about what they do and don't need.
"It's about taking that scary aspect out of it, if you like. It's a service I've wanted to offer for a long long time," Kerry continued.
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"Now's the time to get out there, and use the knowledge that I have, and really offer a service here that you wouldn't get if you went to the bigger retailers."
Seizing the opportunity to launch her business as COVID restrictions ease, mum-of-two Kerry said: "The time has never been quite right, and I think now, I just felt like this is it. I've got to do it now, otherwise I'll never do it.
"It's a really positive thing, and if I can impart some of the knowledge that I've learnt over the years - working at baby shows and with all these brands - that's a good thing."
With their first week behind them, Kerry and her team have shone a light on the importance of supporting local businesses.
"I think it's really encouraging for people to know that we, an independent, aren't necessarily more expensive than the big guys, but you get that additional service as well."
And the support from not just customers, but new neighbours, has added to the positive outlook from their first week.
"It's an overwhelming response, I'm very lucky," Kerry said. "I knew everybody would be very welcoming, and I think certainly the businesses in Bancroft have been grateful that there's another nice shop down this end of town.
"You've got White Wardrobe down here, Amore, Salon 84, Sandwiches... It's a really good little buzz down here, I really love it and it's very friendly."
Noting that although they're not based in the town centre, Cloud Nine is in a 'hot spot' that Kerry hopes will thrive as the high street continues to welcome back shoppers.
"Hitchin is a town that has historically been focused on the market place, and I think it's really nice now for people to come into other parts of Hitchin.
"One of the things I really hope with being here, is that I'm more 'destinational' - so I'll be able to attract people from out of Hitchin as well."