Star story acts as inspiration for duo’s gift shop venture

IPSWICH: An article in The Evening Star has inspired two woman to go into business together and open a shop.

Hayley Dawson and Caroline MacNicol have opened their own gift and party shop, called Cast a Smile, at 199 Bramford Lane, Ipswich, after spotting a story promoting women in business in March.

“Off the back of that we came to sign the property we’re in,” said Hayley.

Both women have had previous careers – mother-of-two Caroline, 43, in the public sector and Hayley in finance – and both found themselves involved in organising parties and celebrations, such as christenings, hen nights and other events.

“We have always liked the idea of doing parties,” said Hayley, 31.


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After they took over the shop unit, a former florists, people have got behind their project.

“The community have really, really come forward, even with helping with the refit,” she said.

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“They were quite excited about the prospect of something being done because it was empty for nearly a year.”

The shop stocks gifts for different occasions, greetings cards and wrap, balloons, banners and party goods. They also sell new baby “hampers”.

“I worked in a bank,” said Hayley. “It’s obviously a very big change for me but one I wanted to make

“It’s just having something a little bit different and putting my energy into the parties and gifts. I’m really, really enjoying it.”

The shop, which opened after the August Bank Holiday, is already enjoying positive feedback. Hayley said: “There have been lots of inquiries which is really good.”

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