Galway City Tribune - Opinion Piece
Sharon finds herself in the right place to buck recessionAugust 2, 2012 - 8:46am
One of the busiest shops in the city this week has nothing to do with horses or racing, but fashion accessories are just as important to the female punters as a riding crop is to a jockey.
The thought of going racing without dressing up is almost unheard of – in fact the Galway Races is almost an excuse to dress up and Sharon Conway of Glitzi Bitz in the Eyre Square Centre aims to please.
Galway has been home to Limerick lady Sharon since her family decided to open up a shop in the city fifteen years ago, initially in Shop Street, then in High Street and three months ago, the business relocated to a unit in the Eyre Square Centre across from Penneys and which Sharon says is one of the busiest spots in the city.
The Galway shop is one of eight run by the Conway family, who have a store in Tuam and in six other locations around the country.
But as soon as the Galway shop was opened, Sharon got to work in it and hasn’t left or wanted to leave since.
“All my family and friends want to live in Galway but because I am here, they get to visit often. It’s a great town and these few weeks have been the busiest coming up to the Races.
“Even this week is busy as women arrive into town having forgot a clutch bag, a shawl or a headpiece and we have them all in the shop. You name it in the line of accessories, we have it and not only that but we have a clutch bag in a great range of colours. Fifty shades of whatever!” she laughs.
Sharon has always worked in the family business and has a natural flair for fashion trends and a way with customers that is emulated by her staff, whom she praises highly.
“We have a great staff, Alice, Isme, Lorna and Caoimhe are great with the customers and by now are well able to match accessories to outfits. We can also guarantee that you can accessorise an outfit for under €60.”
Sharon admits that the recession has actually helped their business. “We had a wider selection in the boom years but we have cut back our lines a lot we started doing jewellery but now it’s all about accessories and the Races is the week when everyone wants to dress up.”
Of course, the rent and rates are still high, she says, but because people are spending less and are looking for more bargains, Glitzi Bitz attracts more customers than ever.
Sharon knows that in the boom years, some women didn’t think twice about buying a handbag for a few hundred euro and that these very women had returned to being thrifty and that’s her shop’s premise, value for money.
“We arrange our stock in colour blocks. Nobody in town has the selection for the price. We have one clutch bag available in 50 colours and if someone comes into us before a wedding or a function, like a debs, we can certainly match their outfit with accessories.
“We often spray fascinators and feathers ourselves to get the preferred shade and we clip on brooches and even earrings if it suits to adorn headgear. I never went to art or fashion college, it is just years of practice!”
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.