Shabby chic success online for Barnstaple mum

Joseph Bulmer

A Barnstaple mum of three has combined a desire to stay at home with her children and a passion for home accessories into a new career by launching an online boutique.

This month Nicky Williams launched her Shabby Lane website with the support of her partner Paul Harris, offering a range of country style, “shabby chic,” vintage and retro gifts.

The Newport couple have been delighted by the huge response in just a few short weeks and Nicky is keen to prove to others that it is possible to run a business and raise a family at the same time.

“If I can do it, anyone can,” said Nicky, who gave birth to her third child in May.

“The thought of juggling fixed working times and children was just too much to consider. Not to mention manoeuvring around my favourite haunts with children in tow and a pram, always worried about breakages!

“So, when my son was just two weeks old we started working through the night getting Shabby Lane up and running. We have done it together and saved thousands of pounds creating a website ourselves.

“Paul has been an amazing support through the twilight hours and has found his true vocation building our beautiful website, which we are both incredibly proud of.”

Nicky, who previously worked as a PA and administrator, become a fan of the New England style of living whilst travelling in America.

Now she likes nothing better than sourcing gifts, home accessories and furnishings for Shabby Lane from across the world – and nearer to home at the Auctions Rooms in Newport’s South Street!

Paul, who works full time as an engineer and runs North Devon Tae Kwon Do in the evenings, was happy to turn his hand to website creation.

“It’s been a challenge, but everyone has the potential to do it – it’s achievable and affordable with hard work,” he said.

“There has been an amazing response. The first day saw more than 140 hits on the new website and the key has proved to be networking through social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Nicky also plans to visit various North Devon events throughout the year with her Shabby Lane stall and is offering 10 per cent of her takings to anyone running a charity event.

“I have always longed to run a boutique and the compromise was doing this online – this works nicely alongside having a family,” she said.

Visit Shabby Lane at or email