Carino Boutique – The Perfect Fit

Starting and running a new business through a recession may not represent the most attractive proposition for the average person.

But for Avanda Hughes and Olga McCarney, who started Carino Boutique in March 2007, the prevailing financial strain of the past four years has resulted in a more grounded and sensible approach to their new business, facilitating a gradual but steady growth.  

The success of Carino was clearly illustrated last week when the business made the move from their base in Market House, beside Omagh library, into Market Street. The move is the next step in the business partner’s labour of love, which has enjoyed a flourishing reputation in the area for their designer footwear, bags and accessories.

Opening a business together was always a popular topic of conversation between the two former insurance clerks according to Avanda, “We worked on the front desk and always talked about doing something together, it was always going to be a shoe or a bridal shop.”

However it was only after signing up to the ‘Go for it’ programme in October 2006 that the pair decided to turn their daydream chats into a reality. After thorough research and meeting suppliers, the Carino Boutique was eventually opened on March 29 2007.

“Everything just fell into place, it all just seemed to come together at the right time,” said Avanda.

But she stressed that having a passion for your business is a must. “You definitely need to have an interest in it to succeed.

“I have always been a shoe fanatic and I remember the first time we ever went to see a supplier, we were absolutely hyper looking at all these absolutely amazing shoes.”


The range of products has grown from shoes and handbags to include jewellery, fascinators, umbrellas, hats, scarves, gloves and capes.

“We have really diversified from when we first opened, the costume jewellery and accessories have just taken off,” added Avanda.

Of course doubling the size of the boutique’s floor space with the new store has opened the scope for further growth and diversification.

“Down below everybody loved the shop, but since we have moved up our customers are delighted that we are among the main shops,” she said. The business partner added that the other stores in the area have been more than welcoming to Olga and herself.

“We had always said we wanted to be on the main street in the town and I think for the business to grow we needed to be on Market Street.

“Down in Market House it was working, it was doing well and got our name established. But the big picture was always to be on the main street, in the hub of it,” she affirmed.

Recommending the ‘Go for it’ programme for anyone thinking of starting their own business, Avanda said, “It helped us understand what we needed to do and the steps we needed to take.

“It told us what we needed to research and basically where to start. “It’s the hardest work you’ll ever do, but if you put the hours in, I believe that is how a business works,” she continued.

“You need to do your research, identify a niche in the market and have a passion for what you are selling.”


The businesswoman stressed that during more stringent economic conditions,it remains important for businesses to not get too far ahead of themselves.

“There are times when maybe you spend too much on stock, but it’s about learning from mistakes. I think maybe where a lot of businesses go wrong is taking money out of the business,” she added.

“Under the current climate you really should keep things canny. I definitely think opening during a recession has helped us to be sensible.”

While opening the Market Street boutique represents the realisation of Olga and Avanda’s major goal, the pair have hinted that there is scope for continued growth.

“Who knows, we wouldn’t rule out opening another outlet in another town at some stage down the line. But at the minute this is more than enough for us,” said Avanda.

Carino Boutique’s new store is situated at 27-29 Market Street Omagh.

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If you feel your business has risen above the recession, contact on 028 8241 5091.