As a youngster Kate Palliser can still remember when she first fell in love with shoes, playing with pairs of her aunt’s from the 1950s.
The love affair continued and for the last seven years Kate has run her own shop, Scarlet Shoes in Bury St Edmunds.
“I started Scarlets because I couldn’t find the shoes I wanted to buy in Bury.
“I was having to go to Spain, Italy or London. I didn’t want the usual High Street shoes.
“Now, through the power of social media, we have people phoning up from London and around the World to buy our shoes. I suppose in that way we have gone full circle,” said Kate.
At 14, Kate landed a Saturday job working in a shoe shop in Ipswich.
“It is the power of shoes that is their appeal,” said Kate.
“Shoes should be on prescription. A good hair-do and a good pair of shoes can really lift a woman’s spirits.
“My favourite pair of shoes was, and still is a pair of beautiful chestnut pointed stilletos my mother had handmade for her in Malawi in the 1960s.”
Kate is now 49 but during her years and travels she has worked in a shoe shop in Australia, while customers in Bury may also know her from her time working at two of the town’s home interior shops.
“People still come in and ask me about their choice of colours,” she said.
Scarlets was among the businesses that lost weeks of trade following the fire at Cupola House last summer.
It lost a third of its stock to smoke damage, was forced to close for three weeks, and suffered months of disruption afterwards.
Kate said she is disappointed that St Edmundsbury Borough Council did not offer business rate relief to the affected businesses.
“We were lucky to get through that time. It was a very difficult time for us and all the shops in The Traverse.
“On the flip side, we had fabulous support from our customers. and we had a better Christmas in 2012 than we did in the previous year.”
She now stocks accessories, jewellery and clothing, while Kate is looking into the possibility of expanding within the same building.
Scarlets also sell men’s shoes. Visit www.scarletshoes.co.uk