Cake and Catwalk is an independent store on Ipswich waterfront known particularly for its eclectic statement jewellery but it also has a fantastic range of other accessories from bags to scarves and gloves. Run by fashion forward businesswoman Lynn Turner, the shop is quickly approaching its fifth anniversary and will celebrate five years in business on 1st February 2015.
Lynn started the business after she was made redundant and what started as a plan for a party planning business developed into the thriving shop she has today. Lynn has always been a very style conscious person, having worked as a window dresser for Debenhams in her early years. She recommends scarves, bracelets and earrings as great gifts for friends. ‘The snoods we have in the store at the moment are lovely but I daren’t take one home as I want my customers to be able to enjoy them. I do have a great line of clothing from Joss & Florence and have treated myself to a few choice pieces to show customers they look great on, of course!’
Lynn loves to keep Cake and Catwalk different from the usual high street shops and she takes care to search out and supply items that cannot be found anywhere else in town. ‘Even if I know I can make good profits from selling what’s popular I do not buy it because I do not want my customers looking like everyone else. My customers come to me because they want something a bit different and they know that Cake and Catwalk is where they can find that. I also pride myself on giving excellent customer service as it’s about more than the item itself, it’s the whole experience so each item purchased is carefully giftwrapped before it leaves the store.’
At this time of year Lynn sees quite a few partners who are looking for the perfect gift for their wives or girlfriends. We asked Lynn how she might help a gentleman choose a gift for his partner. ‘I’d find out as much about their partner as I can,’ she says. ‘This allows me to find out about her favourite colour, what kind of winter coat she wears and what kind of jewellery she prefers on an everyday basis in order to make informed suggestions.’ Lynn has already had to re-order in some gloves from the Powder range. They have a smart Downton Abbey feel about them and are already proving very popular.
Cake and Catwalk is situated in the Dance East building right on the waterfront, an area of Ipswich has a great community spirit. Lynn explains, ‘I was one of the many people who helped to raise money for DanceEast to be built and have been here since it first opened. I am part of the DanceEast family and really love being here.’ But it’s not just the great location that tempted Lynn to open her shop as part of DanceEast; Lynn was a dance teacher for them and is very involved in all that goes on and the community that surrounds it. ‘I attend every event here, go to classes and host the open mic nights in the DanceEats cafe on the 1st Friday of each month.
‘I spend a lot of my time and effort looking for new products, networking, marketing the business and developing my skills in social networking,’ explains Lynn. ‘You cannot afford to let anything slip and I’m always on the look out for anything new.’ Lynn believes that the business and the products stocked should still feel exciting despite the economic market. ‘I started a monthly newsletter when I opened the shop and I still produce it religiously every month. It keeps me connected with customers who don’t come into the shop regularly.’ You can read the Cake and Catwalk newsletter on the facebook page www.facebook.com/cakeandcatwalk1