How sickness brought couple together to create business in Wrexham

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

TWO high flyers forced to quit work through illness have launched their own business – creating 20 new jobs in the process.

The booming market in high school “proms” fashion persuaded Susie Ryder and husband James to open a boutique and jewellery store at Wrexham’s Eagles Meadow.

SuSu’s Jewellery, which already has a shop in Castle Street, Conwy, will make Eagles Meadow its headquarters.

James was a sales and marketing director for an American company when he suffered severe injuries in a car crash and Susie worked in personnel for the NHS until she was struck down with the debilitating illness ME.

The two met and married about five years ago while they were both convalescing.
Susie, 41, said: “Basically we were two sickies.

“We had been out of work too long and once you have a gap in your CV it can be very difficult getting back in.”

Susie had been told she had a natural eye for jewellery, and with James’ eye for business the couple decided to buy stock to sell at markets.

However they were inundated with requests from people who wanted to buy online and so opened a website, www.sususjewellery.com.

It’s called SuSu because Susie’s nephew could not say Susie or Susan when he was a baby, but managed SuSu so the name stuck.

Susie said: “One of the biggest suppliers of prom dresses is Precious Formals, who are the biggest in America. We are their biggest UK customer.

“Customers come in and spend maybe an hour of more trying on dresses. We also have a catwalk show on screen so they can see the dresses being modelled.

“It’s all about customer service. We can match everything to go with it from shoes and bags to jewellery and jackets.

“One of the reasons for coming to Wrexham was that most of our customers tend to be from over this side of North Wales and from the North West.

“This unit in Eagles Meadow is ideal – we will have a luxury boutique on the ground floor and high fashion upstairs.

“I get telephone calls for dresses from London, Scotland, even the Isle of Man. We have more than 200 styles in our Conwy shop.”

She added: “Proms is going to grow - it’s just like ‘trick or treat’ and Halloween which came from the USA and is now a multi-million pound business.

“We have dresses for all special occasions, such as a dress to wear to the races, or for a cruise.”

SuSu has also sponsored Miss Wales contestants and the contest’s North Wales regional heats and is currently sponsoring Alana-Marie Lewis, the Gwynedd representative in the Miss Galaxy pageant.

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