Annies, in Sidmouth, a business profile

Harri Morris of Annie's, Sidmouth

Harri Morris of Annie's, Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

East Devon Resident takes a look at Annie’s of Sidmouth.

Harri Morris of Annie's, Sidmouth

Harri Morris of Annie's, Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

Harri Morris moved to Sidmouth with her two children almost three years ago.

She had been spending the summers and Christmas in Sidmouth for about six years prior to moving there. She said: “We all love Sidmouth, it is a fantastic place to be. It is a charming seaside town, friendly, welcoming and full of quirky, interesting shops. It is the perfect place for me to fulfil a life long dream of running a small shop in a seaside town.”

She took over Annie’s in Sidmouth in November last year. It is a small, independent leather goods shop, specialising in exceptional quality leather bags for men and women, purses, wallets and has an extensive range of umbrellas, belts and interesting gifts.

Harri explained how she came to take over running Annie’s.

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She said: “Annie’s has been retailing leather goods in Sidmouth for more than 30 years, I am the fourth owner in that time and whilst the shop is small, it is full of character and we pride ourselves on exceptional customer service. When Annie’s came on the market for sale, it was the opportunity I had been looking for, a small shop I could run on my own and of course it helps that I love handbags!”

Looking to the future, Harri explained how she sees the business developing over the next few years.

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She said: “Annie’s has an incredible, loyal customer base, both locally and visitors who return to Sidmouth year after year. We have fantastic suppliers in Radley, Gianni Contii, My Walit and Gigi, my aim is to continue to provide customers with the same brands, choice and quality of products that they have been used to over the last 30 years.”

She explained that buying a new bag is a very personal thing, everyone has their own requirement in a bag, purse or wallet.

She said the weight, size, colour, width and length of the straps and internal layout are all elements customers consider, and at Annie’s they will continue to strive to give customers the personal service and best shopping experience they can deliver.

She said: “In the longer term, I am looking into developing a website with the potential for on-line sales so I can deliver to our visiting customers in-between holidays. I am also planning on developing Annie’s own brand of bags, purses and wallets.

“These are obviously unsettling times in general but in retail in particular. My hope is that the changing face of retail will mean that more customers start to #shoplocal so our high street retains the diversity and choice it currently has and Sidmouth continues to thrive as both a bustling community and happy holiday town.”

And when it comes to offering advice for those who wish to start up their own business as a local independent shop or business, Harri said: “If you know your target market, can find great suppliers, you love what you sell and enjoy being around people, then go for it.”

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