For the past 16 years, my little doses of retail therapy have nearly always involved a wonderful independent boutique in Suffolk. Whether you want that unique designer dress for a special occasion or something at a high street price but a little bit more exclusive, ANNA is the gift that keeps on giving.
Anna Park started her first eponymous shop in Norfolk’s Burnham Market in 1994, quickly followed with what has become her flagship store in Primrose Hill. Since then, she’s grown, sewing up most of East Anglia, with another four shops in Saffron Walden, Holt, Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge. Anna now spends her time between her homes in Norfolk and London, “I’ve always worked in fashion”, Anna told us, “and I spotted a gap in the market when I realised that everyone from Norfolk shopped in London. Nobody believed me when I decided to open a shop in Burnham Market!”
And, of course, Anna’s instincts were right; the shop was an over-night success. As soon as one shop opened, she started to look for her next location, and interestingly didn’t look on the high street. “I like my shops to be a destination discovery ”, she explained. Anna created a formula that works beautifully, and whilst everyone else was suffering during the recession, she survived. “I wanted my customers to still feel special and be able to come in and treat themselves, even if they were on a budget. So I introduced affordable but original ranges such as Selected Femme and Second Female”. Add to that the gorgeous, unmistakable aroma of her stores, with their fresh, bright and enticing collections – combined with her loyal staff’s friendly and honest approach.
Anna’s inspiring business acumen and divine taste in fashion make her a hard act to follow. Her collection of designer labels have changed over the years but they’re always wearable and on trend. If you aren’t lucky enough to live near an ANNA, the owner has thought of that too! “We can send our on-line customers a trunk full of clothes to try on in the comfort of their own homes – and we’re happy for them to select a number of pieces and the ones they don’t want, simply return”.
Open my wardrobe and you would be hard pushed to find many items that aren’t from ANNA, and thanks to her clever choices, the vintage pieces from all the years gone by are just as loved as some of my latest additions.
Anna has graciously answered our Beautiful Women’s questions…
1. What’s the best thing about getting older?
I really embrace my age, I haven’t ever really thought of anything ‘age appropriate’ and I really hate that phrase. I think that the best thing about getting older is completely forgetting ‘rules’ and having the attitude that anything goes!
2. Who is your female inspiration and why?
My female inspiration is my Mother.....she empowered me of every level both with confidence and styling. She began ANNA with me.
What is you top tip for growing old gracefully. Perhaps one beauty tip, health tip or mind tip?
3. What’s your top tip for growing old gracefully, perhaps one beauty tip?
Go and see Dr Nirdosh....say no more!! Use a Clarisonic facial brush every morning in the shower....wakes and brightens the skin every morning. Jojoba oil for the skin every night! Brazilian Bumbum cream, smells divine and breaks down cellulite! For my mind, I do Yoga, my favourite class is with Imi Wiseman, Vinyassa flow at Triyoga...
Who/What is spiritual? I’m always a bit nervous of anyone that calls themselves a ‘spiritual person’!
For personal development and grounding I belong to a group that meets once a month with The Modern Day Wizard....Andrew Wallas, a life coach and he’s FANTASTIC!
4. What would your younger self say to you now?
Dont sweat the small stuff....love yourself YOU are the only one that can make you happy!
5. What are your dreams for your future?
Bringing back the high street and the enjoyment of shopping in store!