Eccles mother’s passion turns to business venture as Diss premises opens

Hilary and Alice is a new business in the town, which has been open for slightly more than a month.

Pictured: Pam Lawton, Director ANL-160420-121536009

Hilary and Alice is a new business in the town, which has been open for slightly more than a month. Pictured: Pam Lawton, Director ANL-160420-121536009

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A former marketing director has turned her passion into her livelihood — and says business is good after opening in Diss five weeks ago.

Pam Lawton, who lives with three-year-old son Charley in Eccles, founded Hilary & Alice based in Park Road.

Hilary and Alice is a new business in the town, which has been open for slightly more than a month.

Pictured: Pam Lawton, Director ANL-160420-121631009

Hilary and Alice is a new business in the town, which has been open for slightly more than a month. Pictured: Pam Lawton, Director ANL-160420-121631009

It mixes old with new, giving tired furniture a new lease of life, working on a wide range of large and small real wood furniture. Home and giftware is also sold, while projects can also be commissioned on an individual basis or larger scale.

The interest started after Ms Lawton, who previously worked as a marketing director in radio, inherited lots of old pieces of furniture. Struggling to find items she wanted for her house within budget, she began to research about upcycling and improving furniture herself. Opening her very own premises has been a year in planning.

“This is my first retail venture, I had been working from the workshop at home for a couple of years, but just for fun really, more than a business,” she told the Diss Express.

“I decided I was going to take the jump into retail and it has been brilliant.

I decided I was going to take the jump into retail and it has been brilliant

Pam Lawton

My positioning is that I want to offer a really good, quality, unique, bespoke product but at reasonable prices, and I’ve loads of feedback from people who have come in saying it is really well priced.”

Business has been going so well Ms Lawton has already taken on an apprentice and she hopes in the long run, further shops will pop up across the region.

“I absolutely love it. This is my passion and I just feel very grateful that I can do it as a lifestyle and a livelihood.

“This is the first one, I would love to have a little empire,” she added. “I would have to think through the logistics of that, because it is just me, and obviously there is a maximum amount of production I can do, and I don’t want to be rushing stuff out. I want to be taking care and attention in the product, but that is why I was really keen on taking on an apprentice, so I can show them and share the knowledge and experience that I have learnt and self-taught.”

But what is behind the name Hilary and Alice?

“They are my nannies,” she explained. “Nanny Hilary is still alive, Nanny Alice sadly isn’t. They were both such brilliant, strong, independent creative women, but different to me. Nanny Alice was a baker and her mum was a confectioner. Nanny Hilary, her husband was a woodworker, and she was always inside dressing interiors and fiddling around with things, and had the most crazy and eccentric taste.

For more information visit www.hilaryandalice.co.uk or call 01379 650273