A UNIQUE BOUTIQUE
If you’re seeking a style all of your own this summer, then look no further than this fabulous new boutique in Lytham, writes Kate Ford. Photography: SusieQPhotography.co.uk
A Saturday in early March and the rain is pouring down, but nothing was going to put a dampener on the opening of Will & Ward, the latest arrival to Clifton Street. The shop brings a dazzling touch of city-chic to Lytham and customers flocked through the doors, tempted by the super-stylish window displays.
Inside, they were greeted by the creative force behind this exciting new business, the mother and daughter partnership of Andrea and Beth Ward. Both looking fabulous, wearing clothes from their own range, Andrea and Beth mixed with customers and spoke with genuine passion about their latest venture and the different labels it is introducing to this Fylde Coast high street.
As a mother and daughter team, Andrea and Beth span two generations and together they have selected a range of clothing and accessories which will delight customers of all ages. Focusing on British designers and sustainable fashion from Europe and beyond, their collections enable customers to build an essential wardrobe for each season, assisted by the years of styling expertise on offer.
With a background in interior design and fashion styling, Andrea, 51, has worked in fashion retail for many years, specialising in personal shopping and style consultations. With a keen eye for what looks good on whom, Andrea has an uncanny ability to help women make the right fashion choices.
“Women are very critical of themselves and sometimes need a little help to see their good points and how to make the most of them,” says Andrea. “Clever dressing is all about accentuating the positive and disguising the negative, and clothes which have been beautifully designed make this so much easier.”
One of Andrea’s favourite labels is Dante 6, inspired by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s quest for beauty and influenced by the six stages of a woman’s life. One of the leading brands in Dutch fashion, Dante 6 offers a stunning collection of effortlessly stylish dresses, skirts and other separates, which feel both luxurious and easy to wear at the same time.
Both mother and daughter are keen to support sustainable fashion from designers with an environmental approach to sourcing fibres. Beth, 27, shows me part of the Selected Femme range from Norway, featuring beautiful bright prints on the softest of fabrics. Cool and edgy, these pieces will help you create your own individual look and are excellent value for money.
After completing a textiles course at Newman College in Preston, Beth took a degree in International Fashion Marketing, which included a year working in the industry. Beth spent her placement with a UK high street fashion retailer and, in the process, secured herself a full-time position after graduation.
“I was a buyer, specialising in children’s wear, ladieswear and lingerie,” she says. “I loved the work and it was valuable experience, but then Mum and I were chatting one night, and the idea just came to us – why don’t we do this ourselves?”
That was two years ago, and ever since the pair have spent their time planning, selecting their collections and working on branding. They considered several names but eventually chose Will & Ward, as it made perfect sense with Will being Andrea’s maiden name. They only gained access to their shop a month before their estimated opening date, meaning a four-week whirlwind of non-stop activity to get things ready.
The shop itself is a fresh-looking blend of neutral and feminine tones, creating a warm and relaxing environment for browsing and shopping. Changing rooms are spacious with refreshingly subtle lighting, a far cry from the harsh brightness of so many modern changing areas.
“That’s the interior designer in me coming out,” laughs Andrea. “We want women to enjoy choosing clothes with us and, for that reason, the changing area is really important.” It’s a lovely social space too, with comfortable seating for friends to sit and wait whilst their companions are trying on clothes.
On their website, you’ll find a whole list of events that Andrea and Beth have lined up to inject some fun into clothes shopping. These include a spring style event on 27th March, showcasing this season’s wardrobe must-haves, and ‘Payday Prosecco’ every last Friday of the month!
If you love your clothes to make a statement and you appreciate honest, intelligent fashion advice, pop into Will & Ward to meet Andrea and Beth, who might just become your new best friends.
Will & Ward
43 Clifton Street, Lytham FY8 5ER