Southsea shop shuts its doors and moves online after demand for its services grows

THE owner of a Southsea shop has said she will not be reopening its doors as lockdown restrictions ease, due to the success the business has had online.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 4:21 pm
Updated Monday, 12th April 2021, 4:41 pm
The Liberty Lounge in Southsea

The Liberty Lounge, in Grove Road South, went from being a physical shop-front, to an online, app-based business when lockdown restrictions came into place last year.

Owner Jennifer Sanchez planned to bring the members of the membership hub back to the space when it was allowed to reopen but has taken the decision to instead scrap the physical space.

She found that taking the business online and creating an app instead has meant that it has quickly grown and has attracted a national – and even international – audience and even more members.

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Jennifer, 35, said: ‘I opened the shop in February 2020 and the plan was to build a membership hub for creativity, business and just generally ‘re-filling your cup’ in a safe space with a support group around you. Before lockdown, we were bringing people into the lounge and holding classes and workshops, but a lot of our members were from Portsmouth and the local area.

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‘When we moved the lounge online and created the Liberty Lounge app, people from across the UK started to join and, not only were we gaining members from all over, but we began to gain collaborators from all over, who had so much to offer our members in terms of online workshops and classes.

‘Our online success has meant that we can do all of this and offer even more to our members through an app, so I made the decision to close the shop for good.’

The social enterprise offers workshops and classes over Zoom in topics such as business development, social media, meditation and gratitude.

The mum-of-three, who also runs three other companies – Liberty Photography, Dimples and Daisies Photography and Into the Savannah Jewellery, said she was sad to be closing the space, but knew it would allow the business to grow.

She said: ‘I made the decision with a heavy heart, but the members come first, and we can do so much more for them without the need for a shop. We’re now able to put so much more into the lounge and give our members and collaborators exactly what they need to help them on their journeys.’

Jennifer recently launched a business arm of the lounge after her members started 100 businesses off the back of taking the workshops and classes her and her collaborators offer.

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