Quirky new gift shop to open on Suffolk coast
PUBLISHED: 16:03 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:48 16 May 2019
A quirky new gift shop opening in Southwold has set its sights on showcasing the best of Suffolk's artistic talent - while also proving more unusual stores can thrive in the online shopping era.
Rebecca Rix-Meo decided to fulfil a life-long dream to open her own store after running a cottage rental firm in the coastal resort for 18 years.
With many friends in the town's business community, she did not want to tread on any toes - so set out to create a shop completely different from anything else in the area.
The result is Little Pretty, selling high-quality gifts and accessories made by creative and artistic types in Suffolk.
Mrs Rix-Meo, who has appointed one member of staff to help her run the store, said it has taken "guts and lot of hard work" to go through with the idea.
But she is confident of success, because she believes she is "trying to offer unique pieces that aren't available elsewhere".
The Trinity Street store, which opens on Saturday, May 18, includes a selection of silver pendants, cosmetics, homewares, decorations and even a men's section.
"Half the stuff in the shop has been made by local people," she said.
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"I have cherry-picked all the best bits that people are making.
"People are making amazing things and I'm trying to showcase some of the best that are available.
"Being able to talk to brilliant, creative people and cherry-pick bits of artwork really reflects my arty background.
"It's something I've always wanted to do."
However while many shops face a challenge to survive as online shopping continues to grow, Mrs Rix-Meo believes: "People who are in a position to set up independent stores are in a better position now, because of the fact not everyone wants to shop online.
"Lots of people want to have that shopping experience.
"They want to go into town, have a bit of lunch and see the products. People still want that."
The closure of many big name retailers has also forced many shoppers to re-evaluate what they like, she said.
"They look for unique things," Mrs Rix-Meo said. "There is definitely a market for that.
"It does take guts and a lot of hard work to do it, but I think the current climate may improve my chances."