In the space of eight years Karen Reid has gone from working as a carer to having a booming shop in the centre of Kelso.
The move has proved to be a successful one for the Earlston woman, who only took on a course in clothing design and manufacture at Heriot-Watt in Galashiels aged 39.
Karen admitted that she was living her dream, and has also gone back to designing bespoke dresses and occasionwear in addition to her hats, which really put her on the map.
“Things are going really well. I moved across from Melrose in June because I knew there was a space available. I just thought I had to go for it because things had been a bit quiet in Melrose.
“The shop I had wasn’t in a great position, with not much footfall, so the move to Kelso and having window space has been like night and day.”
However, when the owner of the bridal shop she was sharing the Bridge Street space with decided to sell up, Karen was left with a dilemma – close too, move, or take on the whole shop.
“I didn’t want to move again as people were still trying to get used to where I was, so I spoke to the landlord and signed the lease on October 1. It has definitely been the right move,” Karen said.
With an ever-expanding client list locally and further afield, Karen already has orders for next year, and is aiming to introduce winter and men’s hats too.
“It has been a great progression, from doing it from home to having a small studio to now having my own shop,” Karen added.
However, she admitted that husband Andy had been pivotal in helping her make the leap to take on the Kelso shop.
“He has basically been my voice of reason and backbone. He said ‘Believe in yourself, I believe in you and you just need to do it.”
Although keen to look forward, Karen added: “If my friend hadn’t pushed me into going to uni I don’t know what I’d be doing now.
“I’d probably just be doing a job to pay the bills, but now I’m doing a job I love and something I have a great passion for.”