Wednesday 26 June 2019

Memoir: Shop Girl by Mary Portas

Black Swan, €10.99

Shop Girl by Mary Portas.
Shop Girl by Mary Portas.
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

Known for her TV persona, the Queen of Shops, Mary Portas has penned a memoir depicting her rise from poverty in a very bleak 1970s Britain.

She was one of five children, clothes were hand-me-downs, holidays were a day out to Hastings and meals revolved around the potato theme.

Her mother, Theresa, was the driving force. But tragedy struck when Mary (pictured below) was still in school at 17. Her mother died tragically of meningitis.

Instead of taking up an offer of a place at the prestigious RADA, Mary stayed home to look after her younger brother and studied visual merchandising.

A window dressing job gave her the opportunity to use her set design and visual communications skills.

It seems that this volume is the start of a series of autobiographies, as Mary's ascent to the retail guru she has become today is not fully developed.

Having transformed Harvey Nichols, she has also contributed to the Telegraph for eight years, created award-winning campaigns for Habitat and Mercedes-Benz.

She is Global Retail Ambassador for Save the Children and raised millions of pounds through her 18 charity shops.

The seeds of her success are in her anecdotes of small businesses, self-made people, local shop-keepers. An inspiring read for budding retail entrepreneurs, male and female.

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