Independent fashion store owners share secrets to success as they celebrate 20 years

Anita and Abhi Vadhir have run fashion store Vanilla for 20 years. Picture: Vanilla

Anita and Abhi Vadhir have run fashion store Vanilla for 20 years. Picture: Vanilla - Credit: Vanilla

Plenty has changed in the retail sector over the last 20 years but shop owners Anita and Abhi Vadhir have been able to adapt to ensure their Norwich fashion boutique Vanilla continued to thrive.

Mrs Vadhir said: 'What has really changed over the last 20 years is the web. The way we have responded to that is to work really hard on customer experience, giving customers that feeling they can't get online.'

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However, she said this came at a cost as it required high staffing levels and training as well as regular trips to London and Paris to keep up-to-date with trends.

Mrs Vadhir added: 'We have just invested quite a lot in fitting the shop. If you want customers to feel that experience from when they walk in the door you need to make it look the part.'

When Mr Vadhir first came to Norwich he opened a menswear store in the Royal Arcade and womenswear shop in Westlegate but Mrs Vadhir said high rates and rents had forced them out of the city centre to their Ipswich Road home.

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'We are out of town so location does have a lot to do with it but on the other hand it helps us because when a customer comes through the door they are here for a reason, they have not just popped in while on their lunch break,' she said.

Mrs Vadhir said the main lesson she would pass onto others was operating with integrity.

She said: 'One of the most important things has been integrity, do what you say you are going to do.'