My Favourite Things - Ann Lees, Crissan, Cheadle Hulme

Ann Lees at Crissan in Cheadle

Ann Lees at Crissan in Cheadle - Credit: Archant

Ann Lees is the proprietor of Crissan in Cheadle Hulme. Running her fashion shop dominates her schedule, but she has a passion for family life that takes her here, there and everywhere.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your profession or business in recent years?

The biggest influence on my business is our wonderful customers. I am constantly striving to improve on the collections we have and the service we offer. Our customers find the High Street disappointing. They feel they are not catered for. The bias is so often to the younger generation. I am always being asked for dresses with sleeves, at a length that covers the knee and versatile occasion wear that can be worn again.

Which major national or international brand do you admire and why?

I very much admire and respect a German label, Rabe. I always feel a slight leap of joy when glancing at the collection for the first time at the London showroom. Colour! My dream is a colourful collection even in Autumn/Winter. We don’t do dark in Crissan! Also the quality is superb - another joy for me as my background is manufacturing and quality control. Out of interest, Rabe took over the well-known upmarket German label, Lucia.

On the rare occasion you have chance to go out for lunch with a client, where in Cheshire do you head?

Our favourite place for lunch is The Swan at Kettleshulme. We like to earn our lunch by a long walk in the lovely hills around there. They have a fabulous menu from tasty starters to great fish dishes and a good selection of real ales. We have been going for years and their new dining room is in keeping with the traditional old pub.

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What do you do on a weekend off?

Weekends off are packed full with visiting four baby grandchildren in Bristol and Penzance. Also going to our caravan near Porthmadog where we enjoy walking in Snowdonia. If any time is spent at home there is always gardening to keep us busy!

Where are your favourite holiday destinations?

We have an unwritten rule that we never go back to the same place so we have been lucky enough to travel to a lot of countries. Our standout memories are of a safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya, and several different places in India and the Far East. In Europe we love Italy and anywhere else with great food and wine.

What is your favourite book?

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas is a memorable book. It moves from the stark beauty of the Welsh landscape to the Himalayas and Kashmir. The descriptions are evocative of a bygone era of India, interlaced with the present.

What do you watch on television?

My favourite programmes nearly always include history. I particularly enjoy anything about the Tudor monarchs and castles. I also really enjoyed The Great British Bakeoff and most cookery programmes.

Ann Lees is the proprietor of Crissan, 23 Church Road, Cheadle Hulme, SK8 7JD. Tel 0161 485 3154.

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