A BUSINESS selling unique wares in the city has reflected on one year of its shop.

Luna Amatores opened in January last year at a unit on Castle Street, starting from humble beginnings to now having a prominent shop and hiring a member of staff.

Near Bookends, the shop, run by business owner Korin Thompson, sells things you wouldn’t find elsewhere in the city, such as crystals and obscure curios, and also sells locally-sourced and made items like handsoaps and jewellery.

Korin Thompson founded Luna Amatores as an online-only business nearly ten years ago, and after a residency in the Fisher Street galleries in Carlisle, she has now upgraded to a city-centre shop front, with great success.

The business started on line in 2014 while Ms Thompson was working full time, and three years ago she started doing pop-up shop.

Thanks to hard work on social media and reliable word of mouth, her shop has stayed busy for a year and has no sign of slowing down.

Reflecting on a year, Ms Thompson said: “Since opening the shop it’s gotten a little bit out of hand, and I’ve had to hire my first member of staff in November last year.

“Christmas was a lot busier than I thought, I expected it to be similar to doing a pop-up shop in The Lanes which I did the year before but it was much more busy.”

While last year’s Christmas Market was said by some businesses in the city to have curtailed footfall into shops, Ms Thompson said it wasn’t an issue.

“I found the market brought new customers into town that wouldn’t have previously, we’ve not got much about here anymore, and I noticed it was bringing in a lot of people from West Cumbria,” she said.

New staff member Kerry works mainly in the shop, leaving the owner more free to make jewellery.

Now business is going well, she said on what she may have done differently had she known: “I probably should have been braver and gone for a bigger unit closer to the city centre, but I’m happy here.

“I love the area, the shop, and I get along well with the landlord and neighbours.”

Running and opening a new shop can be tough, especially when you sell products of a certain niche that isn’t perceived as mass appeal.

On how she stayed in business for over a year, she said: “A huge part is social media, I don’t think the shop would be where it is now if I didn’t use it.

“The best thing is to stay active on it, and people like to so who is behind the business as well.”

She also said more people are buying crystals: “There are more people who are into crystal healing and metaphysical side, and there’s still a good chunk of people that just like the way they look/

“I think after Covid, people look more for natural remedies, things that could help with emotions and health, and more people are into foraging and finding natural remedies for everything.”

With a busy shop comes the inevitable shoplifting, but Korin said she wasn’t standing for it after one particular incident: “I’m a bit sick of people thinking they can take from small businesses, they need stopping.

“The actual coming in and taking something is almost violating, but also the lying,” she said, explaining how one shoplifter was caught on camera and denied it when confronted.

This person was reported to the police after Korin offered to forget it if she returned the crystal but refused.

On advice for new business owners, she said: “If someone was doing well online I would recommend they try a pop up shop, it gives you a good idea of your customer base, then go for a full shop – you can always try for a shorter lease.”