Norfolk's best boutiques and loveliest labels by Sarah Cassells

Talking Shop A life-changing experience prompted Diva owner Maria Hewkin (pictured above) to fulfil her dream of opening her own fashion boutique in Wymondham.

What inspired you to open a boutique?I’ve always worked in fashion and beauty retail and loved it, but after recovering from breast cancer in 2000 I decided it was time to do something for myself. Diva had been run as a dress agency since 1994, but when I bought it in 2005 I felt Wymondham high street needed a shop selling new clothes instead.

What’s the Diva style? We stock designer daywear at reasonable prices and have a section where you can buy or hire ball gowns and eveningwear. We also always have a bargain rail, which is very popular.

What’s your bestseller?The Bohemia range. It’s Swedish and very quirky; lots of asymmetric styles and versatile colours that can take you through every season. It’s also suitable for every age group.

Which three pieces are essential buys from Diva’s current collection?One of the Bohemia coats; a pair of Buxa’s black or red leather clogs made from elderflower wood, which are good for your back and posture; and a neutral-coloured leather handbag from Aftershock.

What is the price range in the store? From �2 for a lip gloss, up to �200 for a ball gown.

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Who are your favourite designers?I think Vivienne Westwood is inspiring, which is why I like Bohemia as it features similar prints. I also like Lily Allen favourite Yumi and new label Ella, both of which we stock.

Which other Norfolk boutiques do you love and why?I love Mima Lee in Holt; they sell beautiful shoes and a woman can never have too many.

What are your other interests?I’m kept busy by my husband, three children and two boxer dogs! I’m also a committee member for Keeping Abreast, so am often involved in charity events.

8 Fairland Street, Wymondham, NR18 OAW, 01953 606667;

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