Feeling a strong connection to the local community, Gabby Barron has grown her family and her business in Roma for 27 years.
Owner of much loved fashion boutique Gretel Lane, Barron says the friendly atmosphere and ease of life in Roma made it a natural place for her to raise her family. After her youngest child started school, she decided to also build her career in the region. She hoped to start in retail to take advantage of the flexible hours and build on her love of connecting with new people. “I just love the customers; we always have a great time,” she said. This leap proved successful, with her first venture Shoezamm becoming iconic throughout the region. Gabby operated the store for 10 years, selling shoes to people of all ages and for all occasions.
Eager to start her next chapter, Gabby seized the opportunity to buy a dress store in town. Not wanting to let go of her first retail love, she decided to merge the two, and so Gretel Lane was born. The sophisticated garments stocked in her store are regularly debuted at the races, parties and weddings. The boutique’s high quality pieces include clothes, shoes and accessories from local and international brands like Wish, Cooper St, Little Lies, Django & Juliet, Ascari, Mollini and FRANKiE4. Barron is passionate about providing pieces that are stylish, fresh and comfortable for women.
Connecting with people has always been the highlight of working in retail for the mother of four. “It is a great opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t usually cross paths with, especially when people pass through town for the races,” she said.
Barron’s daughters Zoe and Ellen have always played a significant role at the stores, starting with being interested behind the scenes from a young age. Barron said the girls used to spend their afternoons helping her with the buying for Shoezamm when they were still in school. They continue to be involved with Gretel Lane. Barron says the family involvement contributes to the friendly and supportive atmosphere in store. “I think that we work really well together. I enjoy having the girls in store.”
Always looking for ways to better serve her customers, Barron provides a complementary experience with online shopping for those who are not able to make it to the bricks and mortar shopfront. In smaller towns, often the only option available for women wanting to put together a nice outfit is online shopping. Customers can call the boutique and Barron will put an outfit together for them. Before finalising the purchase, she lets women try the clothes on, making them feel more confident with their purchase. “It is definitely a better alternative to online shopping, especially in a smaller town. At Gretel Lane customers are able to put together a full outfit.”
Between juggling Gretel Lane and maintaining her family life, Barron is an active member of the Roma community, and a friendly face around Roma’s treelined streets.
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