Shop Local: Willesden Green’s Lily King gift shop riding the coronavirus tide
PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:32 17 November 2020
CAITLIN MOGRIDGE (CAITLIN MOGRIDGE (Photographer) - [None]
A Willesden Green gift shop owner is gearing up for Christmas having managed to stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lilybeth King, owner of Lily King in Queen’s Parade, has bucked a local trend by seeing her sales increase in the last six months.
The 29-year-old “born and bred Willesden-er” has been running her online emporium for seven years and opened shop only two years ago.
“We’ve been on Walm Lane for just over two years now and we’ve felt so incredibly lucky that our business hasn’t been too badly affected by the pandemic.
“The takings are more or less in line with what was predicted for this year, which is a huge relief as when we had to close up shop back in March for the lockdown we really weren’t sure what to expect.
“We also offered free local deliveries all throughout lockdown, which kept us busy and running the business smoothly over that uncertain period.”
Although not eligible for any government grants, Lilybeth had a month rent free in April, then paid 25 per cent in May, 50pc in June and 75pc in July - which she described as “extremely helpful”.
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She also employs staff on an “ad hoc” basis and is the only one on the payroll.
London’s recent step into a Tier Two lockdown saw footfall to the store decrease but online sales increase.
“If the restrictions get tighter as we approach Christmas, we’re expecting our online trade to get very busy,” she added. “It’s so essential to always have a plan B at the moment - we can’t seem to predict anything in this new world we live in.”
The former Anson Primary School and Hampstead School pupil “fell into making jewellery” while working in a boutique several years ago.
“I started selling (unique designs) through the boutique to see how it went, luckily it went well and customers began wondering if I had an online shop and one thing led to another and a business was born out of it.”
She now sells multiple products across different categories.
“I always found it infuriating that there was nowhere locally selling decent greeting cards, or anywhere to get a last minute gift and I also needed a space to run the online business, so thought the business was worth a punt in the area.”
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