Bumpz to Babiez: South Shields business woman turns struggling store into new baby venture

Harmony Gifts Pauline Smith is to close shop because of competition from seven other card sellers at The Nook
Harmony Gifts Pauline Smith is to close shop because of competition from seven other card sellers at The Nook

A woman who showed a red card to her former line of business says she feels reborn after delivering a new retail venture to one of South Tyneside’s busiest shopping centres.

Pauline Smith, who for 12 years ran Harmony Gifts, in Prince Edward Road, at The Nook in South Shields, decided to call it a day earlier this summer due to intense competition from other retailers selling cards.

New baby shop, Bumpz to Babiez. Owner Pauline Smith

New baby shop, Bumpz to Babiez. Owner Pauline Smith

But then Pauline, 61, had a last minute change of heart over leaving The Nook.

She has kept on the shop but transformed it into a completely new venture called Bumpz to Babiez, a niche maternity, children’s wear and gift shop.

And it’s a transformation which has given her a new lease of life.

She said: “We closed as Harmony Gifts on August 1 and reopened as Bumpz to Babiez on August 21. The shop has been transformed.

“I’d asked friends and customers what niche retailer was needed at The Nook and people said this and that, none of which I thought was right for me.

“Then someone said they couldn’t get nice, quality maternity and baby wear and I thought, ‘there’s a gap in the market’.

“It’s completely different from selling cards, but so rewarding, and I get to see all these gorgeous babies in the shop.”

Pauline, who also sells Christening ware, a premature baby range and personalised clothes, said: “I didn’t want to give up the old shop but I didn’t have much choice, it was losing money. Now I have a new lease of life and we still have a lot of the old customers coming in. They have been tremendously supportive.

“I’m looking forward to the future again.”