In the eyes of many women, boutique owners Gill McKay and Tracy Telfer are living the dream rather than running a business.
Girls’ trips to Milan and Berlin, wardrobes full of stylish clothes and rubbing shoulders with the fashion elite. What’s not to love?
“When its pouring with rain in the middle of January and North Berwick is dead, it can be pretty grim,” admits Gill, before quickly adding... “That’s the downside, the rest of time, it’s really good fun!”
Already friends and neighbours living in the seaside town, it was an everyday chat about shoes and shopping, that convinced Gill and Tracy to open their shop, Heart and Sole, eight years ago.
“A shoe shop had become available and it got us talking about what we would do if we ran our own business.
“We realised we had a shared passion and pretty similar taste, so it seemed like a great opportunity,” says Gill.
Having started out selling shoes with a few bags and accessories, clothes now account for more than a third of their stock.
“We find that’s a good balance. Shoes aren’t something you buy every week, but women are always looking for something to wear or something that would make a nice gift. It also mean customers can co-ordinate their outfit with shoes,” she adds.
The girls’ eye for detail and quality ensures the shop is full of lovely pieces found on their buying trips to Milan, Berlin and London.
They are always looking for something a little different and well known footwear brands such as Ugg, Superga and Fly sit alongside beautiful continental brands.
The venture has cemented their friendship, rather than testing it.
“We have different skills that work well together. Tracy is logical, while I am more creative. While she is looking at the finances, I can be looking at window dressing.”
Heart and Sole, 6 High Street, North Berwick, 01620 890999. Open: Mon-Thurs, 10.30am-5pm; Fri&Sat, 10am-5pm.