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Sisters Rachel and Laura chat about their latest collections for Belfast FashionWeek

By Karen Ireland

Rachel Shivers (25) is the owner of Spoilt Belle Boutique in Magherafelt. She will be showing her latest collections at Belfast FashionWeek tomorrow night as part of the designer boutique showcase. Her sister, Laura Bradley (30), is owner and manager of the family business, Shivers Bathrooms.

Name: Rachel Shivers

Age: 25

Occupation: Owner of Spoilt Belle Boutique

Relationship to Laura: Sister

I am excited to be taking part in Belfast FashionWeek. This is my third time taking part in the event and it is always a great night - it is a brilliant platform for showcasing fashion in Northern Ireland.

I have always been interested in fashion and I worked in retail after I left university - I studied Criminology and Criminal Justice at Jordanstown - but it wasn't until I spent two years working in the fashion industry in Australia at the headquarters of a design house, that I decided it was the career for me.

I opened the boutique in October 2013.

It grew by such a rate that this year we were ready to move to bigger premises. This all happened while I was pregnant with my son, Ethan, who is now four months. I had him in June and moved into the bigger premises in July, so I was back to work pretty much straight away.

I love my job. People think the best bit must be all the travelling to Paris and Milan to buy the collections, but I honestly prefer being in the shop, seeing the stock out on the shelves and looking after the customers as they come in to try it on.

I am engaged to Raymond Wilson and hope to get married next year, as having Ethan and moving the shop have been the prioritie at the minute. I come from a very big, close-knit family. There are three girls, Laura, Jane and I, and we have a brother, Cahal.

Everyone else works for the family businesses, Copper Industries and Shivers Bathrooms. Laura and I have always been very close. I really admire her, as she works hard and runs a very successful business.

She has recently launched an interiors side of the firm and she would travel with me to Paris and Milan and go to interior shows. It is lovely to get to spend that time with her. She is also an amazing mum to Mazie and I get lots of tips from her about motherhood."

Name: Laura Bradley

Age: 30

Occupation: Owner/manager of Shivers Bathrooms

Relationship to Rachel: Sister

For the past 15 years, I have been working in the family business. My mum, Helen, and dad, Charlie, set it up and I took over and started running it 10 years ago.

Life is extremely busy for me. I have a daughter, Mazie, who is 16 months, and I am pregnant with my second child. I have been married to Lesley for five years now. He is a farmer and a site foreman.

As a family, we are all busy with our businesses and babies, but every day at lunchtime, we meet up at our family-run coffee shop and catch up with each other. Then, after work, we pick up our babies and we all meet up at mum's for a chat before heading home.

Rachel is the baby of the family, but she and I have always been close. Growing up, she was always the quiet one.

She studied criminal justice and we all assumed she would do that for a career. But then she took two years out and went to work in fashion in Australia. She returned a different person and declared she was going to open her own boutique.

She worked and strived and achieved her goal and her boutique has taken Magherafelt and the fashion world by storm.

She is very focused and driven. Nothing deters her. When she was pregnant with her son, Ethan, she worked right up to the birth and was back to work a week later.

She is fantastic with customers and makes sure everyone leaves her shop looking great and feeling better about themselves. Rachel had a fashion show in Paris a few weeks ago and it turned out there was a furniture show on as well, so the three sisters and mum all went to Paris at the same time.

It was fantastic and a great opportunity to spend some quality time together and to just chat about things - without having the babies in tow."

Events for followers of fashion

  • West Coast Cooler FashionWeek gets under way tomorrow night with a menswear show. The event will take place in Life Church, Bruce Street, Belfast at 6pm. Tickets start from £20
  • Other events during the week include Spoilt Belle, To Be Beautiful brunch symposium, the Original Fashion Souk, Sushi Saturday, Excel Clothing showcase, and Style Sunday in association with Action Cancer and Marks and Spencer
  • For information on venues, times and ticket prices visit

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