Meet the Seller: Labyrinth

12 August 2016

Labyrinth, an alternative clothing and gift shop in Brighowgate, Grimsby, takes great care in its customers, sourcing items that are different, have an edge and hard to find in the local area. We had a quick chat with owner Denise Thompson to meet the seller.

How did Labyrinth begin?
My husband and I opened Labyrinth in 2013. We were originally down Freeman Street and started it because we'd done a lot of market research into the area to see what types of brands were missing, and we found that there was actually quite a large gap for the alternative market. Then we moved from Freeman Street to Brighowgate near Grimsby town centre.

And what ranges do you have here?
We have a lot of gothic style ornaments like skulls, dragons and fairies and things like that, and recently we brought in Irregular Choice shoes because there was a gap in the area for them too. And we have a lot of swing dresses, burlesque dresses and men's clothing as well.

How do you pick what your stock?
We tend to go to a lot of trade fairs to gauge what's going to be in fashion in the alternative world, and we do a lot research online and ask our customers what they want to see in the area too. We do this quite a lot.

Tell us a little about your shop.
Now we've moved to Brighowgate, we're a lot busier, and we do body piercings too. I used to have my studio and then we moved it because it made more sense to combine the whole thing rather than having two separate businesses.

There is a lot of regeneration around here and we get a lot of students passing on their way to town from college, so we get quite a lot of footfall here. And with the piercing side as well, because I've been doing it for 14 years, we get a lot of customers to the shop from the studio, so they work well together.

What is a typical day like for you?
Usually, the first couple of hours are spent sorting out online orders. We get a lot of online trade, especially for Irregular Choice shoes which has massively taken off for us. We order in specific shoes for customers too, so I'm sorting out orders and answering a lot of customer questions. We find a lot of our trade is in the afternoon, probably when the students all wake up!

And you take great care in your customer service too.
Yes. We offer a lay by service because, especially with the shoes that are £120, £130, £140, a lot of people can't afford to buy them outright. And we do that online too so we have customers that pay a weekly invoice, which is quite a unique service. We'll order in things for people if we haven't got it in stock, and we don't stock lots of one item either. We tend to order one-offs because we prefer not to have one rail full of the same things, and we order a different size every time.

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