Donna Watts doesn’t so much dance around handbags as almost drown in them. For she has thousands. And it all started with a Body Shop-style handbag party at a Boston pub.
These days Donna, helped by husband Colin, is Boston Market’s handbag lady. She has been trading on her stall on the market for the past ten years, and has also been standing on Spalding market for about the same time.
Before then she was in an entirely different line of work – as a forklift truck driver for Boston-based ink cartridge manufacturer DCI. She has also been a hairdresser, and a cleaner when her daughter was growing up.
How did the handbags business begin? “My daughter bought a handbag off the internet and it was nice quality. I looked into it and held a little handbag party at our local pub, the Lord Nelson. It was popular and grew from there.”
The range now includes purses, handbags, man bags, backpacks, holdalls and shopping trolleys costing from £9 to £45. There is also a great selection of socks.
The choices change with the seasons in colours and styles. Donna and Colin are regulars at a select few suppliers in Manchester, where they are well known and can rely on quality products.
“We steer clear of the big designer and brand names – the quality of our goods are a match for those and we do have some from LYDC and Lorenz, but customers are not paying so much more for a particular big brand or collectable logo,” said Donna.
They also have a range of novelty handbags which are popular, especially at Christmas, such as some in the shape of tea pots, phone boxes, snails and even camels.
And their relationships with suppliers means that they can meet most customer requirements when they need a particular colour or shade of bag to match an outfit for a special occasion.