Laois fashion designer closing shop to go exclusively online

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois fashion designer closing shop to go exclusively online

Heidi Higgins who is closing her Portlaoise boutique to focus on online sales.

An award winning Laois fashion designer is closing her Portlaoise store because most of her customers are shopping online.

Heidi Higgins from Portlaoise says the online sales of her classically styled women's clothes have outpaced her shop sales for the past year.

"Retail is very tough," she told the Leinster Express. "Online sales have outranked store purchases for the whole of last year. I am sad because I loved having my shop, but the reality is the people are buying online. The footfall is not in Portlaoise. I am even posting orders from my Portlaoise shop to local customers who are choosing to order online.

"Obviously I sell around the world too, as far as the US and Australia. People are very busy now they don't have the time and it's easier to go online," she said.

It will mean the loss of one full-time worker in the shop on Grattan Street.

"I am sad to see lots of shops close, I am not the only one making the decision, but I'll be continuing to design my collections which will be available on my website.

Ms Higgins said that she is expecting her second child and the family now live in Tipperary, with the commute also influencing her decision.

"I plan on taking proper maternity leave this time," she said.

"I invested in my website and charging platforms as I knew this was coming down the tracks. We sell lots of items wholesale to boutiques as well as retail. Online is the way forward," she said.

Heidi Higgins won the Irish Tatler 'Women in Business' award for Fashion in 2012. In 2014, she won the Irish Best Young Entrepreneur award for Best Established Business with Add-On run, with a €20,000 prize fund to grow her brand internationally. 

Her shop was nominated for the Irish Times shop of the year in 2016.

In 2015 she said that her proudest moment was when she relocated to her new boutique in Portlaoise which included a design studio. 

“I always wanted to have my design studio and my boutique all under the one roof, says Heidi.  It is the perfect location to meet my clients and my buyers and now I have more space to showcase my designs,” she told the Laois  Local Enterprise office.  

A closing down sale is underway at her Laois shop.