North Norfolk clothing brand gets 'insane' reaction for new Norwich shop
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A North Norfolk clothing brand that has almost 300,000 followers on Instagram has launched its first shop in Norwich and there was a huge queue when it opened.
Blakely opened in 14 London Street in the former Thomas Cook Travel Agents on Saturday (November 20) and it sells menswear, womenswear and accessories.
It was started by Gareth Newman, 34, from Melton Constable in 2010, using his first pay cheque after studying at UEA and qualifying as a pharmacist.
But his real passion was men's fashion and he had been inspired by clothing brands on trips to America.
After two years teaching himself to use photoshop, sorting suppliers and designing a website, Blakely officially launched in 2012 and he would tour universities doing pop-ups.
The first five years, he admits, were a struggle as he found it difficult to market the brand as it was self-funded.
Mr Newman said: "You can have the best products in the world but people are too busy to find you so you need to take it to them.
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"It was social media that was the real winner for us and in particular Instagram and we are nearly on 300,000 followers."
The name is inspired by Blakeney on the North Norfolk coast and it is close to the heart of Mr Newman as his dad grew up just outside the village.
Fast forward to 2021 and he now has a team of 34 and when the Norwich store opened there were queues up to Norwich Market.
Blakely's first shop is split into three sections with loungewear, gym gear and smart casual, with coats and jackets available too.
Mr Newman said: "Our slogan is never settle and we are always looking to try new things as a business to keep pushing forward.
"Norwich is so close to my heart and we want Norfolk to be proud of us.
"It has been incredible so far, we were hoping for five people and had probably about 90 in the queue - it was insane."
Blakely is open 9am until 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am until 4pm on Sundays.