Children’s fashion designer Pauline Mullaniff is never ruffled when faced with anxious parents in search of the perfect dress for their daughter’s big day.
Specialising in communion dresses, flower girl outfits and christening gowns, her boutique in Corstorphine has become a destination shop for families in search of finery and frills.
Since it opened 15 years ago, Blessings and Blossoms has established its own dedicated following and has helped to bring new footfall to the area’s main shopping street.
A graduate of St Martin’s Art School in London, where she studied fashion and textile design, Pauline discovered a flare for childrenswear early in her career.
She was showing her collection to buyers in Scotland when she met her future husband and was given the nudge she needed to open her own shop. The couple were driving into Edinburgh one day when they spotted a “for sale” sign in St John’s Road and bought the premises without even looking inside.
“We had passed the shop many times and knew it was a great location,” says Pauline. “That was before the crash, and it was a buzzing and vibrant shopping area.”
Having witnessed the closure of some long-established shops, including household high street names, Pauline is not one for complacency. As well as stocking well-known quality brands, and an extensive range of baby clothes and gifts, she is constantly adding to her own exclusive collections.
“The new online presence has seen a lot of shops closing down, which is why you have to offer customers something different; something they won’t find online or anywhere else,” she adds.
Pauline believes her success is down to word of mouth and the trust customers place in her knowledge and advice.
While priding herself on being a local shopkeeper and part of the community, she also attracts customers from across the Capital and beyond. “Buying the right communion dress can be quite daunting, because no-one wants to make a mistake by being understated or overstated. We like to build a relationship with our customers so that we can guide them through the experience,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s about the child and finding the right dress for child.”
Blessings and Blossoms of Edinburgh, 132 St John’s Road, 0131 334 8322, www.blessingsandblossoms.co.uk. Open: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun, 12-4pm.