Queens Park blog hits home with tips for cash-strapped fashionistas

The pop-up team of Catwalk Schoolgates. Picture: Caron Westbrook

The pop-up team of Catwalk Schoolgates. Picture: Caron Westbrook - Credit: Archant

Anne Marie Gee’s Catwalk Schoolgates is proving so popular, she’s been able to launch a monthly pop-up shop in St John’s Wood, finds Caron Westbrook.

Catwalk Schoolgates is more than just a virtual fashion and lifestyle blog, it’s an actual community.

Founder and creator Anne Marie Gee is a former financial director whose passion to follow something she loved drove her to start writing for the web.

In an arena saturated by blogs focusing on the life and style of twenty-somethings, she found her particular passion for fashion - busy women who want to look good but don’t have the budget to splash out lots of money every month - was unrepresented.

Catwalk Schoolgates the blog was born, but has developed with an eye to supporting local businesses and brands around north west London.

Gee, 44, and her team of eager volunteers have already managed to achieve far more than the average blogger by opening a monthly pop-up shop at St John’s Wood Library.

Amy Houtenbos, manager at the library in Circus Road has in turn seen extra footfall through the doors.

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Houtenbos’ invaluable help meant the team could use the library free of charge with 10 percent of all the sales going to the homeless charity Doorstep.

So far the team from Catwalk Schoolgates have featured everyone from local candle makers and photographers to local small businesses selling everything from leather bags to jewellery, ceramics to jackets.

These kind of ventures are gaining traction as a great way for smaller, local businesses to reach a bigger audience.

The pop-up shops are in the library on the first Wednesday of each month except during school or public holidays.

They open at 10am and finish at 2pm – ideal for those who want to shop while their kids are at school.

“It’s our experience that many people want to go beyond the large, faceless companies that sell in bulk. They want a smaller more personalised experience and they can get it from small local businesses,” says Gee mother to Archie and Luella who lived for years in St John’s Wood before moving to Queen’s Park.

Gee continues to develop the blog and share her thoughts and experiences about the world of fashion and a modern-day lifestyle suited to real women. It’s easy to see how the strong sense of community that pervades every inch of the blog has transferred into the real world - and that’s pretty amazing.

Visit catwalkschoolgates.com