What better way to spend a hump day afternoon then chatting over a coffee with the magnificent Emma Hall (and her beautiful daughter, Pearl) about her exciting plans to add a womenswear section at Albert’s Menswear in Rugby – soon to be named Albie and Lonnie’s. That’s just what Nat and I did last Wednesday. We commandeered a corner of Bacco Lounge (two prams, one toddler, one baby, one rogue husband on a lunch break, laptops, lunches, coffees, notebooks – perfectly, hectically normal, you know how it is!) and we chatted over a flat white because we couldn’t wait to hear all about her news.
Tell us about you
I’ve been a dental nurse my entire career, I love it, I love the people I work with, it’s all I’ve ever known really. I had Pearl in 2016 and went on maternity leave – as you do – and always planned to go back, I definitely wanted to go back.
So what changed?
I was helping in Alberts with the formal wear – I have far more patience than Dave, and really enjoy helping people choose their outfits for their special day. I had also been involved in the buying but never really considered it as a career.
Thoughts moved to the prospect of returning to work and all the work/life balance issues that come with a commute, and as much as I love my job, the realities of juggling with a baby set in.
That’s when Dave planted the seed that maybe I should think about womenswear.
And you were excited?
Yes, excited and daunted! Excited about doing something completely different, a better work life balance. More time with Pearl than if I had gone back to my old job, and more time with Dave, which is still a good thing at the moment!
What will make your womenswear different?
There are some great offerings for womenswear in Rugby, especially independents, and I hope we can add to that offering with something a little different.
My main aim is that everyone can shop with us, regardless of budget and dress size. A place to have time out and treat themselves – affordable and accessible casual wear.
So you say any size? What does that mean?
It’s been really hard to find ranges that cater for what I would class as ‘average size women’, the ranges I’ve chosen will include sizes for 8-18, with lots of loose fits, designed to flatter and cater for different shapes.
We will be welcoming and non-judgemental of everyone, you can come in for a browse, try things on, we are here to help.
When can we come and shop?
As part of this change we are rebranding to ‘Albert & Lonnie’s’ and moving the shop around. Womenswear will be on the ground floor, menswear on the second with formal wear moving to the pent house!
We will be reopening for our launch at 5pm on Thursday 31st of August.
Everyone is welcome for a browse and a glass of fizz. Plus if anyone mentions the Parent Pause when purchasing – they will receive 10% off.
We had a sneaky catch up with Dave too. Here’s what he had to tell us…
It’s been a massive step for Emma to come on board as a joint director after 15 years as a Dental Nurse.
For the last few months Emma has been looking after our Formalwear business and with her own ideas and sense of calm, has managed to make it so organised and very successful. The next natural step was to go into Womenswear and I knew as Emma spent more time in the shop, making people happy and looking dapper in their wedding suits, it would make her want to leave her safe and secure job and take the brave step in helping me expand our business.
I have to say I’m incredibly proud of what she has achieved already. She has taken to it like a ‘duck to water,’ whilst caring for our little Pearl too. Yes, I have helped her ease into the buying process with suppliers, but she has grasped it with both hands and made it her own.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, how will you cope being married and working together?
We have talked at length about working together and being with each other every day and night. Fortunately, we are best friends and we know each other well enough to know when to give the other space. Being in business means sometimes you have to make tough decisions and Em is slowly coming to terms with what we have to do to make things work. She is my ‘wing woman’ as well as my wife and in my eyes, she has already succeeded and doesn’t have anything to prove. Em brings that enjoyment factor to the business and every single person that walks through the door is treated the same.
We are determined to offer something different in this wonderful town of ours and something that Rugby hasn’t seen for a long time, if not ever, is a shop that caters for Menswear, Womenswear and Formalwear all in the same building.
Come along to Albie and Lonnie’s – Regent Street, Rugby on Thursday 31st August, have some fizz and browse the gorgeous new collection for the autumn/winter season featuring a range of clothing and accessories from stunning brands such as Religion, Selected Femme, St. Tropez, Paisie, Native Youth and lots more.