How former teacher's love for the high street inspired shop opening
- Credit: Venetia Strangwayes-Booth/Aaron McMillan
A former teacher has revealed her love for the high street is what inspired her to open her own shop.
Venetia Strangwayes-Booth opened the doors of Venetia’s Yarn Shop on Norwich Street, Fakenham, on November 27.
Having previously worked as an antenatal teacher, she now hopes to bring sustainable wool to the high street and fly the flag for the town's local traders.
Ms Strangwayes-Booth first moved to Norfolk nine years ago after running a coffee shop in Hackney.
For almost a decade she continued working in London in her teaching job but, in September, as her son flew the nest to start university, the 54-year-old decided to re-enter the business world.
While looking around the town, Ms Strangwayes-Booth stumbled upon the empty Norwich Street unit and, within months, Venetia’s Yarn Shop was born.
“I am a people person and I have been having a lovely time since I opened,” she said.
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“I’ve had people coming in and saying ‘thank goodness you are here.' I’m feeling very positive and really just so pleased.
"It is a massive gamble and people have asked if I am mad. But I think there is a need for independent businesses, and I know Fakenham already has so many.
"There is something special about individual high streets.”
Until her latest venture, Ms Strangwayes-Booth had been commuting from Norfolk to a school in the capital which taught soon-be-parents everything from what to expect during labour to changing nappies.
Like so many, Covid-enforced lockdowns gave her time to consider the direction in which she wanted her professional life to go.
Coronavirus has, of course, was having a significant impact on her specialist field.
“Covid had a terrible impact on maternity services and women, and it was becoming quite distressing listening to people’s stories," she added.
"I had been teaching for 16 years and I had sort of had enough.
“I loved the job - it was fantastic. But I needed a bit of a break."
Now, Ms Strangwayes-Booth has big plans for her business, including the potential to host knit and natter groups, as well as classes - such as sewing - in her upstairs space.
She also intends to join the relaunched Fakenham Chamber of Trade.