A HARTLEPOOL woman is bidding to make it big in the fashion world with a wealth of business experience behind her.
Sara Doughty, 25, has launched a boutique in Hartlepool after spending years on developing the expertise she needed.
She now owns and runs Madame Chique, in Victoria Road. It is her first business venture and it opened less than three weeks ago.
But the former High Tunstall pupil made sure she was well prepared before going it alone.
Sara studied fashion design at Cleveland College of Art and Design, in Middlesbrough, and graduated four years ago after a two-year course.
She has been a senior sales worker for a fashion chain and also worked for Carewatch, a domicillary care business which looks after people in their own homes and is run by her parents, Steve and Anne Doughty.
Sara said: “I worked within the payroll section. It has given me the background as to how it all works and in running a business.”
She said that experience proved invaluable as she embarked on her own business adventure at the Victoria Road shop.
Sara, from the Naisberry Park area of town, said she chose the site because of its location. “It is central and there is a lot of passing trade. It is a fashion boutique doing unique ladies wear.
“It is just me running it but I would like to expand and definitely want to get online, and perhaps get another store if it all goes well.”
Sara started the business by sourcing designers she really liked and said the prospect of running her own business was “not really nerve wracking,
“I would say it is more exciting than anything.”
Sara signed the lease for the business in February and has spent recent months preparing the premises for opening and “giving it a new look”.
She added: “This is something I have always wanted to do and I have always had a hand in fashion.
“I thought ‘why not give it a go’ and do something different and getting away from high street stores.”
Sara said the feedback so far had been “really positive”.