Meet Claire Skinner, owner of online boutique Gina & Skinner, which delivers luxury to your door…
Before she decided to launch online lifestyle boutique Gina & Skinner, Claire Skinner spent over a decade working in the world of diamonds, honing her eye for detail, quality and style as the manager of luxury jewellers Boodles in Manchester.
“Having worked in the luxury sector, I wanted to offer something high-end, the opposite of quick turnaround fashion – something that will last but will also look fabulous,” she explains.
Setting up her own Manchester-based business came after years of travel and finding inspiration abroad and at home, and searching for the right suppliers who combine a sense of uniqueness with quality and provenance. Her aim was to stock a mix of “beautiful things” and her website does just that. It features a curated selection of pure cashmere accessories, candles, hammam towels and WYSE London clothing – a line which includes the softest tees, tops and scarves, each combining muted tones with pops of rainbow colour or metallic.
“Having spent time abroad, I kept seeing people using these hammam towels and wondered where to get them,” explains Claire, who balances her time between her central Manchester townhouse, Alpine chalet and travels further afield. “I made sure I found 100% cotton hamman towels – many are lined with extra-absorbent soft toweling. They are super lightweight, brilliant as a towel, on the sun-lounger, as a sarong, and they then fold up to fit in a beach bag.
“I met my husband (property guru Graham Skinner) late in life,” she continues, “and love travelling with him. He inspires me, but he also grounds me. I’m a family girl at heart.”
Claire is also a staunch supporter of local Manchester life: “I love supporting the local area as well as local charities, and I try to take part in fundraisers whenever I can.”
Having created her own beautiful home means she knows exactly what her customer might appreciate:
“For my candles, I wanted them to be soy natural wax, it burns evenly. I always hate it when a candle burns in the centre and not at the side!
“My aim is to make it easy for people to buy from home… a bit of style from the sofa. Having worked in the luxury industry for so many years, customer service is my priority, so I make sure I’m the one my customers speak to at the end of the phone line. I want it to feel personalised”.
What’s next for Gina & Skinner?
“I’m sourcing beautiful kaftans and beach wraps as we speak,” smiles Claire. “There are some fantastic products for summer.”
That’s the holiday prep sorted then.