Meet the businesses heading to Highgate’s Fair in the Square

A successful City financier has packed in the day job after 18 years to open her own bag shop – and she will join many other business success stories at Highgate’s Fair in the Square.

Local business owners will gather en masse for one day only to host stalls at the village’s most popular event of the year on June 13.

The Ham&High met four of them ahead of the festival – of which we are the official media partner – to discover the stories behind the stallholders.

Marcia Robinson, 43, spent nearly 20 years in finance, working for top banks including HSBC and Goldman Sachs. But she abandoned the City rat race to open O Bag North London in Tottenham Lane, Crouch End, selling customisable handbags, watches and sunglasses.

Mrs Robinson, of Warner Road, Hornsey, said: “The corporate world is not a natural fit for me.”

In a similar career move, Debbie Carne left qualitative market research after 35 years at Christmas to found alijoedesigns and upscale vintage china plates into quirky dinnerware inspired by her favourite artists. She sells her creations at markets and online at handmade marketplace Etsy. Mrs Carne, 58, of Cholmeley Park, Highgate, said: “This is a second life for me.”

Celiac disease sufferer David Manbauhar, 48, of Hawley Road, Camden Town, set up gluten-free brownie business The Good Brownie Co. from his home three years ago after struggling to find delicious gluten-free cakes. He said: “When people hear gluten-free, the assumption is that it’s not as good.”

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Muswell Hill florist Pip Lowe set up her own business, Pip Lowe Flowers, after working freelance for a decade, despite not having any financial backing. But she now has a growing customer base.

She will showcase her wedding floristry, window boxes and hanging baskets at the festival.