LEONCIA MURPHY and her sister Francesca have chosen the Byram Arcade for their second fashion store, Sasa Loves.
Their first is in the trendy Affleck’s Palace, Manchester, and was opened in 2006.
This month also sees the launch of their on-line boutique and later this year they’ll be moving into the wholesale business.
It’s an ambitious schedule for the sisters, who live in Edgerton, but each has a background that prepared them well for the demands of retail fashion.
Leoncia, 28 is a Retail, Marketing and Distribution graduate from Huddersfield University, while Francesca, 26 has a Fashion Buying and Merchandising degree from Manchester University.
They got together in 2005 as a business partnership; selling clothes and accessories at music festivals and fashion markets.
Much of their merchandise has been designed by the sisters, who work with a designer in Bangkok and have a manufacturer in Nepal.
“We travel to India, Thailand and Nepal to find fabrics and accessories. My degree has been really helpful for doing research, marketing our products and getting customers. I know how to put a range together and what sells. I studied accounting and business, including the logistics of distribution and how to get products from one country to another.
“Without my degree studies I don’t think I’d have done any of this,” explained Leoncia, who gave her nickname, Sasa, to the business.
The sisters describe their clothes as having a “free spirit, travel feel’’.
Leoncia admits that they both enjoy travelling for their work - Francesca recently jetted out to New York as a stylist on a fashion shoot - and that travel in the Far East and India was the inspiration for Sasa Loves.
Their clothes have a hippie chic feel, in cotton floral prints, recycled sari silk and cotton jersey.
“We wanted something different from the High Street and feedback from our customers has been good,’’ said Leoncia. “We only have limited edition pieces, a few in each fabric.”
“Our designs are fairly simple, with our most expensive item at £30 (a tiered, patchwork skirt). We are now looking for fair trade and organic items that we can sell,’’ she added.
For more information check out www.sasaloves.com