So here we are April 2018 and I’m lying in bed writing a blog about where it all began and reminding myself and my customers why we do what we do and how far we have come.
Gorgeous Touch didn’t just happen over night, Gorgeous Touch was the result of Neil and I having several miscarriages… 8 in total and loosing our son Joseph in July 2010. This was a really hard time for us and I was struggling to keep down my job as a dental nurse as I was taking a lot of time off sick with stress.
Neil and I married in the June 2011 and made the executive decision that when we returned from our honeymoon we would start our own business “Gorgeous Touch”.
Gorgeous Touch was never about making money and to be totally honest it’s still not, it was much more than that for us it was something to focus on to help us both through a difficult and challenging time in our lives.
So why Furniture and Accessories? Ever since I was about 3 years old my parents have been in the Furniture trade so I have been dragged to all the trade shows for as long as I can remember and I basically spent my child hood in my parents furniture store so it was part of who I was, it was in my DNA.
When Neil and I first set up we were lucky enough for my parents to let us have a concession within their store in Spon End, Coventry and whilst I was keeping my self busy chasing my dream I was lucky enough that Neil held down a stable job to be able to support me.
In the beginning i focused all my attention on stocking my little concession, for every sale that I did that money would go back into the business to help me to buy more stock….And for every sale I did I would do a little happy dance behind the counter.
The concession was only small and I mainly sold accessories and finishing touches for the home, everything from vases, candles, artificial flowers, lighting, plaques and soft furnishings.
I loved my little concession but after 12 months i had built myself up so much stock that it was time to look at my own premises, that’s when we found our shop on Hearsall Lane.
It was perfect for us but maybe a little big…it was round the corner from my parents shop so my customers wouldn’t have too far to travel when they came looking for me but also meant that if I ever needed help with a delivery etc then my mum and dad were close by.
We got the keys in the December 2012 but couldn’t open the shop till February 2013 as we needed to decorate throughout and create a stock room.
We did all the decorating ourselves even down to painting our display shelves and tables.
Shortly after we got the keys though I found out I was pregnant again, but this time due to all my miscarriages I was under Proffessor Siobhan Quenby at UHCW.
When we opened in The February it was very cold and snowy so the shop was very slow, being a new business I didn’t have a lot of money to advertise so relied on word of mouth, Facebook and I halved the shop with a wedding hire company so we would have people coming in for appointments regularly.
Word soon spread though and our little shop started to get busier, with regular customers which would pop in for a chat week in and week out and I was doing regular craft fairs and pop up shops too to spread awareness of our little business.
In the August 2013 I was serving a customer when my waters broke and I went into premature labour at just 30 weeks. After a traumatic labour which ended up in an emergency C section our daughter was born 10 weeks early and both of us were very poorly.
Lois was born with Meningitis, Jaundice, pneumonia, 2 holes in her heart, and a hernia and I was in HDU with maternal sepsis.
Shortly after lois was born she was whisked away to Birmingham City hospital as there wasn’t enough beds in UHCW.
So we were in seperate hospitals and I didn’t get to meet lois until she was 4 days old.
Lois was in intensive care for 2 weeks and special care for 3 weeks.
Neil took paternity leave and was working in the shop and visiting lois in Birmingham city and me in UHCW.
After 5 weeks lois was discharged from hospital and had made an amazing recovery.
So what did we do with Gorgeous Touch, we kept it open and I brought Lois to work with me every day and sacrificed maternity leave so I could make our business work.
Our regular customers loved popping in to see lois in the shop, and lois loved being a shop baby and was a shop baby up until she was 10 months old.
Gorgeous Touch continued to grow and we had featured in Vogue, Tatler and even on ITV Laurence in Suburbia. We had a board at our local football stadium, Coventry City.
I was still a one man band at this stage as although It was mine and Neil’s business, Neil was holding down a full time job still to support us.
To keep the shop recognized we held regular ladies nights, late night shopping and even had butlers in the buff. Our customers loved our events.
In 2015 we decided to take on a member of staff and our now Coventry manager Kelly started part time.
This was when the shop was starting to evolve from a home accessories store to a Furniture Boutique.
Kelly had a passion for home interiors and even In her job interview she purchased a lamp for her home.
In February 2016 I found out I was pregnant again, this time with my son Billy. Again I was under Proffessor Quenby and spent the next few months in and out of hospital on bed rest.
It was whilst I was pregnant with Billy that I decided to rebrand Gorgeous Touch, changing everything from what we sold, our logo and our style in general.
We went from Shabby Chic to Bling and from pink candy stripes to Black and white.
The shop looked amazing! It was fresh and sleek and was on trend.
Business was going great.
And then in August 2017 I had my son Billy by emergency C section at 37 weeks.
Billy and I were both poorly with sepsis and Billy also had pneumonia.
We were both kept in hospital for 7 days and after 11 days I returned back to work with Billy in tow.
Kelly did a great job of holding the forte in Coventry whilst I was off in hospital not just while I had Billy but throughout the pregnancy when I was in and out of hospital.
Billy was our second shop baby & the customers loved him.
Business was going from strength to strength and then in December 2017 we were given the opportunity to take on a second shop over in Nuneaton.
This was huge news for us and very scary but also an opportunity not to miss!
Although at the time I had a 4 month old baby and a shop to run we decided we were going to go for it.
It took the best part of 3 months to decorate the Nuneaton shop and to sort everything and stock it, we also needed to take on new staff.
The Nuneaton store is at least 4 times the size of the Coventry store so unfortunately we couldn’t be a one man band especially due to the fact that I still had a very young baby so Neil left his full time job and took the plunge to join me in chasing my dream.
We had gone from one shop with two staff too two shops and 9 staff, it was a huge increase and a risk.
In march 2017 we opened our second store Gorgeous Touch Nuneaton in Bond Gate.
Neil ran the Nuneaton store alongside the help of Kara and Gaynor, whilst Kelly and I ran Coventry alongside Jade, Lalla and Nicole.
We had our Opening night in Nuneaton March 8th 2017 with all the team present. It was the first opportunity for us all to work together and we had a great night. The wine was flowing and we had a great turn out with customers both old and new showing support.
The first year has been and gone in Nuneaton and we have had the opportunity to form relationships with some regular loyal customers.
In Coventry we have continued to do what we do best and that’s to help customers as much as we can to create the home of their dreams.
For seven months we did this whilst multi tasking looking after young Billy who was growing cheekier by the day.
Sadly after a couple of months Nicole left to chase her dream job so in Coventry we just had Kelly, Jade and I as Billy left to start childcare too.
We had our first Christmas as a bigger team and both stores looked absolutely beautiful, stunning in-fact. What Kelly had done with the Christmas trees in Coventry was outstanding along with help from Jade and in Nuneaton they had sold out of Christmas decorations by October lol.
Sadly in November 2017 Gorgeous Touch Coventry was broken into. Which after 6 years of trading and having no trouble was really sad, especially for someone to target and independent store just before Christmas too! But this wasn’t to be the only time as 6 weeks later someone drove into our front doors in an attempt to ram-raid the store.
The problem is something like this feels personal as we have spent years building up the business so it really did upset us for quite some time and sadly we still haven’t had our front doors repaired by the landlord and it’s now been 5 months since the incident.
But as usual we dusted ourselves off cleaned up the mess and we carried on. Carried on working hard as a team.
The business has gone from to strength to strength and after all the bad luck at the end of last year we are finally starting to get ourselves back on track.
In March Kara left Nuneaton to have a baby and we had a new member start our team Emma who specialises in curtains and blinds.
We have now had a new retail system installed so we can be more efficient and we now offer 0% Finance too.
So this is us…..and that is our story!
Hope you have enjoyed reading and finding out who we are and that we are a real hardworking family with a dream!
If your ever thinking about making changes to your home in the future then come down and speak to one of us, we are always happy to help and we offer everything from;