Celebrating some of our amazing business owners in Newbury for International Women's
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, we interviewed some of our leading ladies of local businesses throughout the month of March to raise awareness of prevalent women’s themes in the area while promoting some of our local champions. Below, we interview Mandy from one of Newbury’s most fun-filled shops, Pageant Party, to discuss her thoughts and discover her journey.
Hi Mandy! Thank you so much for allowing us to interview you on behalf of International Women’s Day, 2021. Can you start off by telling us a bit about you, and how you came to be in Newbury?
My name is Mandy, the new owner of Pageant in Newbury. Having worked at the humble party shop for many years, this amazing opportunity was offered to me in 2019, which I ambitiously accepted as I knew the shop like the back of my hand! Not that you can really tell, but I was actually born in America, and spent the early few years of my life there. However, from the end of year 3 I began living in the UK properly. My Mum’s side are British. My residency began in Thatcham with my family, but currently living in Newbury.
What it’s like to open and run a business in Newbury, can you name any challenges faced or share any success stories?
Let’s start off with my biggest success. Being offered the chance to fulfil a goal, owning my own business!
Thankfully, I did not have to start from scratch, so the groundwork was already done. Having worked at the shop for many years, I was already familiar with our regulars, and have been able to see the changes in how people shop. For the last few years, the biggest struggles have been; when the main focus of the town became Parkway, the complete opposite side of the town, online giants that it is impossible for an independent to complete with, and budget balloons started to appear on the high street.
I don’t have to think too hard about the biggest challenge for me, which is definitely Covid-19! Who knew such a unique hurdle would hit within the first year of ownership?
“FEMINISM CALLS FOR WOMEN TO BE ENTITLED TO THE SAME RIGHTS AS MEN – NOT DISMISSING MEN OR THEIR RIGHTS, EITHER. THIS MAKES THE WHOLE IDEA COME ACROSS AS NEGATIVE, WHEN IT SHOULD BE A REALLY POSITIVE THING.”
Which women are you inspired by in your local community, and around the world?
As I have only recently been in the loop, I am amazed at just how many strong women there are who own businesses in Newbury! Dr Valarie Jerome Optometrists, B the Lifestyle Shop and The Ugly Ducking, to name a few, definitely have a strong woman behind them who possess inspiring qualities! Of course I have inspiring women that surround me, my female dominant close family, particularly for their caring qualities. My best friend Kelly is a nurse, which takes someone who is both caring and strong.
On a wider scale, I know there are many inspirational women in so many different fields. However, a name that I have to bring up is the lovely Emma Watson. Now I may be partially biased form being a total Potterhead, but I feel she really does use her public platform to support women, and their rights, in a modest but strong way.
What are the “women’s themes” that still need greater awareness in our local area in your opinion?
The main thing that comes to mind is actually the word feminism, it often comes with the stigma of ‘man-haters’ instead of what it is actually supposed to represent. Feminism calls for women to be entitled to the same rights as men- not dismissing men or their rights, either. This makes the whole idea come across as negative, when it should be a really positive thing.
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Furthermore, click here for a list of both independent and national businesses operating as we emerge from lockdown 3.