Chester by Ptarmigan
Introduce your business and tell us what you’ve been up to recently?
We’re Ptarmigan, a small, friendly, outfitters on Lower Bridge Street in Chester, we stock a range of outdoor, heritage and traditional clothing brands, from classic Dubarry boots to Bladen hacking jackets. We’re ideal for those interested in equestrian or country pursuits!
What makes you different from other similar businesses in the area?
We only stock brands that are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship – because that’s essential if you’re looking for practical but well tailored and stylish clothing for outdoor activities and work. Some of the brands we work with have been going for over a hundred years, and still maintain the same levels of expert, trained craftsmanship at the heart of their businesses. Some brands, like Dubarry started in Ireland, others, like R.M Williams come from as far as Australia, but they are all incredibly passionate about what they produce. We think their passions lead to the very best clothing.
What flexibility does being an independent business give you over a national chain / business?
We put a lot of thought into what we stock, and we tailor what we offer for the people who visit our business. Being a small shop, we’re really able to get to know our customers, and we love to find out what clothing features and qualities are important for them, whether they are riders, rugby players, groundskeepers, farmers, walkers, or just people who are interested in the style and classic look of heritage country clothing.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for small businesses at the moment?
Bigger fashion chains are churning out huge quantities of mass produced clothing at the moment, meaning they can sell for extremely cheap prices, it’s a challenge for businesses to compete with that, but we’re confident that the clothing we sell will outlast anything bought cheaply at a chain store. Independent businesses need to work together to spread their message; buying independent supports artisans, skilled local work people and the local economy, it’s important that we don’t let these talents go to waste, or else they might die out all together.
Looking back, which piece of advice would you give to somebody setting up their own business today?
If you’re genuinely passionate about your industry you can make it work, regardless of the competition or how hard you’ll need to work on marketing to let people know you’re there. It’s good to bring a bit more variety to the city centres, so don’t be put off by all the chain stores – people are still happy to support independent businesses, especially if you give them something to get excited about.
What part does Social Media play in your business?
We’re new to social media, but we’ve found it’s a fantastic way of connecting to our customers and really engaging with them. Social media does help sales and awareness of your brand, but that’s not all we use it for; it’s an excellent tool for getting to know trends and finding out what’s popular in your store. We’ve been chatting to our followers on Facebook recently just about National Countryside Week; it’s something we love and it has been great to just chat with customers!
There are a lot of social media groups for Chester and Cheshire, so it’s been great getting to know other small, independent businesses. We love that social media creates a community where we can all support each other and work together to push forward council schemes to promote business in the area.
Getting to know Chester more
If you had to sum up your town in one line, what would it be?
Cultural heart of Cheshire and home of flourishing independent businesses.
Where do you eat / take out in Chester?
We’re partial to some cupcakes and crumpets at the Mad Hatters Tea Rooms up on the rows, and Telfords is a great independent bar and restaurant, which serves up some delicious traditional English dishes, and some truly great fish and chips.
Which is your favourite pub or bar to drink at in Chester?
For some of the best cocktails in town we loved The Living Room, but it has sadly recently closed. We also love the Arkle Bar and Lounge in Chester’s Grovenor hotel. It’s perfect for a cosy sit after a long day shopping.
Where is your essential must visit shop in Cheshire?
Aside from Ptarmigan! We love most of the little boutiques on the rows, and we love to treat ourselves at Rococo Chocolates, who have some of the best flavours we’ve ever tried. If you’re a foodie, we definitely recommend the Cheese Shop, it’s been a feature in Chester for 30 years now.
What’s been the most impressive new business you’ve seen open in Chester in the past 12 months?
We’ve been quite impressed by The Church bar and restaurant, it’s a new and excellent live music venue, and we’ve seen a lot of local people take interest in the bar’s unique setting; inside a refurbished church!
Which local towns do you feel Chester could learn from and why?
It’s more of a city than a town, but we’ve been really impressed with Liverpool’s massive transformation, it’s unrecognizable from what it once was in some places, and business is truly flourishing there since Capital of Culture. We’d love to see Chester get Capital of Culture in the future, a little investment could really bring out the best in this beautiful, historical city.
In an ideal world What major improvement would you like to see happen in Chester?
Chester businesses have been battling the aftermath of drunken club-goers for a while now, we have a city with truly unique architecture and the rows are uniquely special, so it’s really sad to see them vandalized or messy. Luckily the council is starting to take notice and there have been significant efforts to improve things.
And if we want to look you up on Social Media what’s your Facebook / Twitter addresses?
You can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ptarmiganclothing
And on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ptarmigan_
OVER TO YOU>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Let us know what you love about Chester below
If you want to be feature talking about your Local Town – get in touch on the Contact Page