Work it out
Charlotte Pearson discovers a sports shop unlike any other in Alresford.
Going into a sports shop and finding a new exercise outfit can sometimes feel like torture.
Rails filled with too many clothes that even Sporty Spice in the 90s wouldn’t have touched with a barge pole.
So imagine my relief walking through the doors of Fitique in Alresford, a shop aimed at catering for women who love to work out while looking and feeling great.
Having opened its doors in June 2015, its large and spacious surroundings make you feel instantly relaxed.
“It is something I had always wanted to do,” explains co-director Victoria Gedye, whose other directors include Karen Hazlitt and Rebecca Caplan. “I have previously worked in the sports industry for about 17 years but always had this vision of the shop I wanted.
“This used to be my grandad’s and then my dad’s when my grandad passed away.
“When he told me he wanted to move out I told him my plans, two friends invested and we completely did it up.”
Something that was important to Victoria from the start was not to stock the same items as other sports shops.
“I only buy small amounts, so about eight or nine items from any particular brand, and once it has sold out I will get something different to replace it,” reveals Victoria. “It means that when women shop here they know when they go to the gym or out for a run there aren’t going to be loads of people wearing the same things.”
The items stocked are picked by Victoria herself. “We stock Asquith and BeHere & Love,”
she says. “We also have New Balance and Asics but I try and pick the items you won’t see anywhere else.”
Although a relatively new business it is already making waves, securing exclusivity for some ranges.
“We have store exclusivity for Dharma Bums, an Australian brand with items made from Bamboo,” enthuses Victoria. “We are also a stockist for Lucas Hugh, which is only in another three shops – two in Chelsea and one in Belfast.”
Despite this exclusivity the prices are still reasonable, with prices starting at £25 for a top and £32.50 for bottoms.
The shop is a very flexible space, with rails designed so that Victoria can swap the shop floor around in a matter of seconds.
“It means, when in the past we have done book launches and Q&As, we can make more room,” she says. “We also have held classes down here and moved stuff out the way.”
However, the shop does also have a purpose-built studio upstairs and holds barre, yoga and FIIT (Fitique Intensity Training) classes.
“These are relatively small with only about five people but means those attending get more attention so they know they are doing it right,” says Victoria. “We also do boot camps but these can take place outside weather permitting.”
But this isn’t the only thing that sets it apart from its other high street counterparts.
“We do healthy lock-ins,” explains Victoria. “It can be hard for people to raise money for charity events so someone can bring say ten friends, and whatever they spend we will donate 15 per cent to the person’s charity pot. It is great as people can buy those items they need while giving to charity.”
There is also a bra fitting service as you may be different to your normal bra size and go up a cup down a band, or down a cup up a band.
“Your sports bra and trainers are the two things you need to get right,” advises Victoria. “Once those ligaments in your breast are damaged you can’t get it back unless you have surgery.
“We stock a large range of sports bras including Shock Absorber, Panache and Freya that have the technology and expertise behind them.
“When it comes to your feet we have a treadmill at the back of the store to find the right trainers for you and get the perfect fit.”
For all your fitness needs Fitique is truly a shoppers’ paradise.
“Sports bras only last 20-30 washes and trainers about 500 miles,” reveals Victoria. “When it comes to trainers be aware that your feet swell during exercise. I am a size five usually but in trainers I wear a six and a half, as your feet need room.”
“Sports clothes shouldn’t be washed with fabric conditioner as it impacts on the fibres in the material,” advises Victoria “With sports bras soak in the sink, drain it out and hang it dry, this will make it last longer.
“Also don’t wash your trainers, just a wet wipe will be fine and will make these last longer as well.”
Fitique, 5A Broad Street, Alresford, SO24 9AR www.fitique.co.uk
Pictures: Jackie King, www.jackieking.com
March 31, 2016 Fashion and Beauty