Some women binge on chocolates. Others watch hours of chick-flicks. But in North Hackney, women are beating the credit-crunch blues by stocking up on brand name bras.
“Ladies still want a treat,” says Rosanne Berry, owner of independent lingerie and bra shop Rosa, on Stoke Newington Church Street. “A lot of customers are fed up with everything, and want a bit of spoiling.”
While most high-street shops have experienced declining revenues over the last six months, Rosa’s sales have remained robust. “We do have slow days,” admits Rosanne, “but we haven’t noticed any real fall in demand”. The secret, Rosanne reveals, is her enthusiasm for the product: “I love selling bras. I get such a pleasure from it.”
But Rosanne’s zeal isn’t just for top brass bras. Although all the bras are designer – she emphasises she is “not just a market stall” – prices start at an unalarming £18 and go up to a scarier £75. Brands include Triumph, Calvin Klein and Rosanne’s personal favourite, Aubarde. All sizes are catered for too, from 28AA to 50K: “Bigger customers might be disappointed elsewhere.”
Rosa’s real selling point, however, is its expert fitting service. While larger stores like Marks and Spencer generally offer some form of fitting, perfectly sized bras are a consuming passion at Rosa.
“It’s crucial to be fitted properly,” says Rosanne. If not, women can end up with stretch marks and drooping cleavage. And “once your breasts have dropped they won’t go back up again,” she warns.
Expertise such as this comes after years of toil. Rosanne has owned the small shop for more than 13 years, but had worked in the underwear business previously as well. The shop itself was established 70 years ago in 1939, originally specialising in corsets.
Rosa’s position as a Hackney institution is reaping rewards as recession creeps on.
“We have regulars in all the time. A lot of people are staying local, instead of going into town, because they want to stay loyal to local businesses. And they don’t want to be tempted into buying things they don’t need; we’re not into pressuring people here,” says Rosanne.
In fact with its emphasis on pitch-perfect fit above sales, Rosa may be the perfect shop for Stoke Newingtonians feeling the pinch.
Rosa, 3 Stoke Newington Church St, N16. Tel: 020 7254 3467