Jane Thomas is a woman after my own heart; she loves all things glitzy, glamorous and girly and this is reflected in her boutique, ‘Just Like This.’
The moment I step into her shop, which is tucked away on Falmouth’s old high street I can’t help but feel that I have entered Aladdin’s cave. Everywhere I look I see something different. Every nook and cranny is crammed full of wonderful looking goodies.
“I fly by the seat of my pants most of the time, I’ve always been like that throughout my life”, “I just sometimes wonder when my luck is going to run out” says Jane as she describes to me why it is that she thinks her business has been so successful over the last six years, whilst many others are failing or worst still, closing down. Her boutique has been marked on the map of Falmouth for almost six years since she decided to open her shop on ‘The Old High Street,’ which is a stone’s throw away from the town’s busy centre. But six years ago Jane’s life and career path could have taken a very different turn if her husband hadn’t motivated her into opening her own business. In fact, she was considering taking a job as a lollypop lady, which seems a million miles away from where she is today. “I know it sounds daft but it would have meant that I could’ve spent more time with my daughter,” as she explains to me how she had been working in retail in Truro at the time.
Six years on from then and Jane’s shop completely represents to her. I feel like I have stepped inside her mind, as my eyes are filled with vintage 50’s style treasures and the most fabulous collection of out-there shoes are packed into her small boutique. With her bright red hair and dog- tooth jeans, Jane definitely has an individual style. She describes to me, “I am a mood dresser”, “and I have a very mixed up head.” This is probably the reason there are items of every colour of the rainbow filling her shop; everything is mixed and mashed, but it all comes together to look quite unique.
“I am one of those people that don’t follow fashion, although I suppose I follow my own, I don’t follow the trends. I like to play, I like to experiment and I don’t like to be told that I couldn’t do something, because it’s just not fair.” Her own personal style values are clearly reflected in her stock, her ultimate fashion advice, which is also written on her mirror, is, “at the end of the day you should wear what makes you happy. If it is going to make you happy you’re going to walk around with a big smile on your face.” And I don’t think there is a person out there who could disagree with her on this one.
‘Just Like This’ is located in an area where many other shops fail. ‘The Old High Street,’ which, although in town, is off the centre and has even been called, ‘the forgotten street’ as many people don’t think to go there; this makes it even more surprising that business is doing so well as other than specialist shops most others do seem to fail. But with high-street brand ‘Peacocks’ under threat and the recent closure of, ‘Bonmarche’ it seems that it is not just the independently run shops that are struggling. “When these people go, you realise how much you actually miss them.” “You have to have the big names to draw people in, I love shopping in big shops but I really, really do prefer independent shops.”
Jane is planning on applying for another six-year lease on her shop and has many plans for the future years. Her head is crammed full of ideas, from making her own jewellery, to designing her own clothes but her motto is, “look after your locals first, they are your bread and butter and the ones that spread the word.”