Walkden Market Hall 1991

We have been selling gorgeous handbags for a long time now!! -since 1987 to be exact and in that time, we have seen lots of brands come and go along with fashion trends, but we like to think we’ve always stayed ahead of the game.

Here is a potted history ……. we are a happy (when he moves his coat off the bannister) family business, husband, wife and daughter team and now grandson when he’s old enough.

How did the journey begin? …… I (Adele) was employed by a large insurance company as a HR, and Training Manager and became unexpectedly pregnant which was a lovely surprise (I was about to start IVF which was groundbreaking 30+ years ago) with our daughter.

AdeleWhilst I loved my career there was no doubt that the company paid me well because they wanted their pound of flesh. When our daughter arrived everything changed for me, I no longer wanted to work long hours away from home and having to leave her. I thought about what I could do so that I could have her with me?

As I had always loved bags and there was no bag shop in the local area I decided to open up Bag Heaven (actually it was a unit in busy market hall – no point in glossing over the facts) from the moment I opened with an 8-month-old baby on the hip I seemed to instinctively know what to buy and it was a great success from the off. The success continued, and I was able to diversify my brands and stock Tula, Suzy Smith and Fiorelli – we were the first independent retailers of Fiorelli in the North West of England. We built up a great customer base from personal recommendations – in other words, women like you and I talking to other each other and passing it on. They call this organic growth nowadays, but this was pre-social media and pre-internet.

The business grew and with-it greater confidence in buying and we began stocking brands such as Radley, Modalu and Francesco Biasia.

My husband (Chris) had a career change and came into the business full time. We opened a shop (a real one) on Walkden High Street and a lovely period double fronted shop in Bolton (imagine something from Dickens).

Bolton RoadSuccess continued…… but unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a serious illness in 2008 which had a huge impact on me and my family and of course the business.

We made a mammoth decision when walking through the glass corridor at Christie Hospital on the way to the chemotherapy suite to carry on as normal and take the positive path (in our eyes) and not the negative road. We chose the live in the solution and not in the problem. And that’s what we did I carried on working in the shop wearing my wig……I wanted to continue to be defined as Adele Bags and not Adele with cancer.

Our 5-year lease was up on the Bolton shop so an obvious action to take was not to renew the lease. We were now back down to the one shop in Walkden when we were told about a great shop unit that might be available in Monton Village. After a year of running the two shops, the lease was up on the Walkden shop and we decided to consolidate and run the bricks and mortar shop and website from our Monton village shop which is where we have been since 2010.

So why do we think our shop is so special and has been a success for 30 years plus through 3 recessions?

We think it’s simple – the loyalty of our customers and the relationship we have built up over the years. We serve our customers how we would like to be served ourselves, we buy what we like in other words we become our customers. We check the linings, length of straps, test the zips, check out the pockets. We don’t buy from a spreadsheet or catalogue like large store buyers do.

AdeleWe also pay attention to price, hand on heart sometimes I am cheap and sometimes I am expensive (don’t tell my husband that) and I genuinely think most of our customers think like that also. We cover every price range, we have more choice than you could ever imagine, choice of colour, style, brand and price………... every base is covered.

We also love what we do with a passion and we hope that shows when you come into the shop or browse our online shop. We care about our customers their opinions are important to us, we care about the stock we sell and how our shops look. First impressions count, and we like to give a great first impression.

It isn’t rocket science we all want to find the perfect place that stocks all the bags and purses we could ever wish to see. We feel this describes our shop perfectly and we hope that your online shopping experience will be the same. If you want to give us any feedback then please contact us. Many thanks for taking the time to read this and visiting our website.

Adele x