Sonia Noteman loves a good party, but never thought she would own her own fancy dress shop.
After leaving school, the 48-year-old took a varied career path, as she worked in bars on cruises and on her return to the UK, she ran a pub in Essex.
Several years later, in 2008, a family tragedy led to Sonia returning to Chorley, where she changed her career path again and was the manager of a ladies’ fashion store.
But within six months, her world began to fall apart, as she lost her job, home and was diagnosed with cancer.
Moving her life in a different direction, she began buying and selling items on eBay, but it was only after the death of her mum that she pushed herself to buy premises in Market Street and launch Boogienites.
Sonia says: “I left Chorley in my early twenties to start a new life in Isle of Man, where I went from chambermaid to managing hotels’ nightclub bars within a few short years.
“I then began working in America on the Carnival Cruise Liners.
“After four years I returned to England to continue life in the license trade, and soon began enjoying the hard work of running my own two-storey pub in Essex.
“Then in 2008 news came that my grandmother had passed away and I realised how much time I had missed out with my mum, so I moved back to Chorley.
“It was great to be back, I’d fallen in love with a guy from school, bought my first house, was manager of Bon Marche store in Bolton and life was going great.
“Then the rug got pulled from beneath me.
“Within six months I had lost my job and home, and was living in women’s refuge. In 2010, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the womb. It was during treatment and in recovery I started to play on the computer and got into buying and selling on eBay. Firstly it was my own things I wanted to get rid off, then friends’ stuff and I thought there could be something to it.
“I tested the water with something easy to post out and not bulky and started selling plus size lingerie under www.lingerieseduction.co.uk. I added fancy dress and noticed a greater demand, and set up www.boogienitesfancydresss.co.uk.
“Then in 2013 my mother, Ivet Dixon, died on a flight to Jamaica. From that point I thought I had to really sort my life out and make the leap, so with the help of the Job Centre, Business Startup Loan, Chorley Borough Council and my new partner, Andrew Furnival, who came up with the name, I opened Boogienites Fancydress.
“I specialise in plus and petite sizes and customers can try before they buy.
“If we’ve not got something in we can order it in, and we have a friendly and fun atmosphere in the shop and try to make everyone relaxed and welcome.
“I can kit you out ready for any fancy dress event, catering for ladies and gentlemen. I am looking forward to Halloween and Christmas.
“I can’t believe I’ve already been a year in business. I wish my mum was here to see it.
“The people of Chorley have been great. They have really welcomed me and the business, and every week is guaranteed to get a couple of ‘interesting’ characters in the shop.
“It’s a great laugh and now due to the support of customers I am able to take on a part-time member of staff and hopefully soon to be looking for a second member to take on.”
Boogienites is part of Totally Locally Chorley, which aims to encourage people to shop locally, which launches over the Chorley Live Weekend on October 7 and 8.