'˜My Doncaster clothes shop is my happy place' - Apprentice star Frances Bishop
She spent over two months living in London, but for Apprentice star Frances Bishop there's no place quite like Doncaster.
“I never really know what’s going to happen with Pud as I never expected any of this, but this year it will about improving Pud and tying up the loose ends.
“I’ve just signed another five year lease on this store which will take us up to 2023, which is a bit crazy.
“We’ve just had out first re-fit in the shop in two years, and that’s been all about utilising the space I have and making shopping easier for the customer. So, we now use all the space available from floor to ceiling and have forward facing rails.
“These last few months have just been an absolute whirlwind. We are launching our new website by the end of the month, and also bringing in our own branded bags.
“It’s the little things that I wanted to do when I first started the business but I didn’t have the money.
Frances, who is mum to four-year-old Oscar, opened the Pud Store, which is based in the Kings Arcade, Seplhure Gate, in February 2015.
“The idea for Pud was born when I spilt paint on my little boy’s coat. When I went to buy him one I couldn’t find anything cheap and I thought it wasn’t fair. We have discount designer clothes for adults and I couldn’t understand why there was not one for children - so I opened one. I’ve not looked back since.”
Frances, who is married to Scunthorpe United footballer Neal Bishop, added: “I get things for Oscar from here sometimes. He’ll come in here and pick things he likes - but he does spend most of his time in football kits.”
Frances owns a second shop in Newark, but she says her heart is always in Doncaster.
“If people ask me which shop is my favourite, I always say Doncaster. It was my first shop. It’s my happy place. My heart is in Doncaster. People definitely underestimate it.
“I would potentially look at opening a second shop here in the future. Who knows what’s going to happen?
“The people of Doncaster are just so lovely. They treat me like a crazy daughter.
“I’m not a stereotypical footballer’s wife and I think customers appreciate my sincerity and I enjoy having banter with them.”
There is a steady flow of people in Frances’ store throughout the day, and each one is greeted with the same beaming smile and an energetic ‘hello’.
The entrepreneur helps each and every customer who comes through her door, offering style advice and locating correct sizes and colours. She knows each and every product, and can tell customers without a second thought if something they are asking for is available.
Her happiness is infectious and her passion is clear.
She added: “I know a lot of people who come in to the store. I don’t always know people by name, but I recognise people’s faces.
“I pride myself on having good staff and offering great customer service.”
Frances, aged 25, who lives in Misson, plans to open a third Pud Store in March - but the location of it is yet to be revealed.
“I didn’t have any retail experience before I opened this store. I was just winging it most of the time. I have been working since I was 14. I was a barmaid and a waitress, and then I went to university, but it just wasn’t for me.
“I dropped out in my second year and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Then I started working in marketing, and then in 2014 I thought of the idea of Pud store and now here we are. It’s been hard work, but it’s so worth it.”
She added that she would encourage anybody with a business idea to give it a go.
“I started this business with £600, now I’m turning over hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. I am proof that you don’t need thousands of pounds to create and build a successful business.”