“It was now or never”: Altrincham lawyer opens womenswear shop Skanda with focus on sustainable Scandinavian brands

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An Altrincham lawyer has fulfilled a dream by opening a womenswear shop – after deciding it was “now or never” when she turned 40 earlier this year.

Laura Sharrock, who is a personal injury lawyer in her day job at McHale & Co, has today launched Skanda on George Street.

The 1,400 sq ft unit – once occupied by jewellers H Samuel – stocks clothes, accessories and shoes from sustainable Scandinavian designers.

Brands include Coster Copenhagen, whose products are made from bottles recycled from the ocean and crushed with oyster shells to create a wool-like yarn.

Skanda on George Street, with (from left) owner Laura Sharrock, shop assistant Becky Parker, assistant Kathryn Walsh and manager Fiona Sigurvaldason

Laura, from Altrincham, has signed a 10-year lease on the unit and said the launch was the culmination of a long-held ambition.

She said: “I used to work in retail when I was a student and then when I moved back to Manchester I worked at Vivienne Westwood and loved it. 

“I decided to go down the professional qualification route and train as a lawyer but it’s always been something that I’ve quite fancied doing. I turned 40 in March and thought, if I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it.”

Laura has the complete backing of her employer, Andrew McHale, and will continue full-time as a lawyer.

Skanda stocks clothes, shoes and accessories from sustainable Scandinavian brands

The new venture is very much a family affair – her mum, Fiona Sigurvaldason, is shop manager and sister-in-law Kathryn Walsh is assistant manager.

Laura said: “We’re stocking nice brands – it’s not fast fashion or Primark where you’re wearing it and throwing it away. If you look after it, our clothes should last a long time.”

Skanda is in the unit once occupied by jewellers H Samuel

The arrival of Skanda means that – after the opening of Muse jewellers and Kokoa beauty shop – all units at the northern end of George Street have now been snapped up.

And Laura added: “With all the things they’ve got planned with the Stamford Quarter generally, we don’t want to move. We’re in a really good part of Altrincham, the pop-up shop has been brilliant in terms of getting people down.”

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