After working as a midwife since 1978 Linda Mears decided to set out on a new venture.
Linda has opened up gift and home shop, Jasmine Tree, in North Street, Gainsborough, which is filled with unique gift ideas for friends and family, after taking early retirement.
Linda said: “My only experience in retail was as a youngster while still at school working in a department store and shoe shop.
“However, I soon realised I loved the people contact and learnt how giving good customer service rewards sales.”
Linda has owned the premises on North Street for several years, and while boarded up the shop has retained many of its original features, including the cast iron fretwork and old meat hooks from its previous use as a butchers.
Linda said: “The inspiration and drive to open the doors as a gift and home shop came when I was nearing early retirement age.
“Having worked as a Midwife and for the NHS since 1978 I decided on a complete change.
“Totally committed to my job as a Midwife and in my latter years as a Manager, I wanted to continue with the people contact but try something new.
“Many of my skills and personal characteristics were transferrable, since dealing with figures and a budget were not unfamiliar, along with the personal professional touch which can also be an asset in sales and customer service.
“I have always enjoyed taking on new challenges and developing projects which probably is where my creativeness and innovations come from.”
Opening a shop soon became a realistic dream and work began on renovating the building two years ago and Linda’s strong vision and uncovering the original high ceilings and features created the ambiance of the shop.
She said: “I began exploring the market in the area to endeavor to offer something new and different.
“If I’m honest, I have always been drawn into ‘gifty’ type shops myself and could never resist taking a peek inside, almost like a treasure chest you have to open.”
Linda says the challenges she has faced have been a lot of hard physical work in the initial stages and then knowing what the customers like and want, whilst ensuring quality at an affordable price that is unique and different.
Linda said: “Having a business head is a huge challenge, because I tend to follow my heart and dealing with figures is not my forte. It helps that my son who is currently taking a GCSE in Business Studies, it means we are both on a learning curve together. I can always borrow his text book.”
Linda says her biggest achievement in life has been having a professional career and raising a family at the same time. Linda says juggling work with a young family and maintaining work life balance is not easy.
Linda said: “Of course my biggest achievement with the shop was opening the doors in time for the Christmas season. I was absolutely overwhelmed with the local support and encouragement, people were delighted to see the building renovated and having a new gift shop in Gainsborough.
“I am also very proud of our windows, which we are frequently complimented on, and hadn’t realised my hidden creative talent.
“I always look forward to changing the window display and getting inspiration for my next ideas.”
The Jasmine Tree is a family business as Linda’s daughter works part time at the shop.
She said: “My daughter attends Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln and works part time in the shop and she loves her involvement and contributing to the family business.”
Jasmine Tree is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.
To find out more about Jasmine Tree you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jasminetreegifts.