June 14, 2021 5.23 pm This story is over 13 months old

Couple turning dreams into reality with triple business in Louth

A Pride month Lincolnshire spotlight

A couple from Louth have turned the uncertainty of COVID-19 lockdown into an exciting career venture, and are now running three businesses at once in the town.

Jonathan Cryans (26) and Ashley Janney (30) are business partners that run a menswear store, a sewing shop and a salon in New Market Hall, Louth, and they recently got engaged after five years together.

They began in March 2018 with the opening of The Little Sewing Shop, selling cushions and other home furnishings, as well as offering tailored services for clothes.

The Little Sewing Shop has been at New Market Hall in Louth since March 2018. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

When the first coronavirus lockdown hit, Ashley, who is the head designer and director for the sewing shop, made a bold call to buy the unit next door and turn it into a workshop.

Ashley Janney is the director and head designer at The Little Sewing Shop. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ashley would regularly get customers for weddings, having the local community come to him to tailor suits, and that’s when Janney & Cryans Menswear was born.

Janney & Cryans Menswear at New Market Hall in Louth. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The shop opposite The Little Sewing Shop had previously been a menswear shop, but Ashley and Jonathan made it into their own and opened in June 2020.

That was then followed by The Loft, an upstairs salon run by Jonathan himself, which also opened last June.

Jonathan Cryans runs The Loft, an upstairs salon in close proximity with the other two businesses. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ashley told The Lincolnite that the success of the businesses has been a result of making the right decisions at the right times.

“You’ve just got to enjoy your job, you spend more time at work than you do at home, so it’s all about finding something you love”, he said.

“We made a choice during the first lockdown to invest in the business and not just expand the sewing shop, but also open the menswear shop and the salon.

“It came to the point where you either fight or die, and despite everybody calling me crazy, I went for it and here we are today.”

Eye-catching decor at The Little Sewing Shop. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

During the local elections in 2021, The Heritage Party ran for council in Louth, and their policies of being against the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as same-sex marriages, caused controversy within the community.

The staff are a really tightly knit team. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

This is something that deeply upset Jonathan and Ashley, though they say they say they’ve never really encountered any forms of homophobia within their business.

Ashley said: “I guess it’s never really come up in conversation, it’s hard to take and sad knowing that people think like that.

“We have new customers every single day, it’s just reassuring that it’s only a small minority who have those views.”

Ashley works most days, but says it never really feels like work because of how much he loves doing it. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Jonathan said: “If you are LGBT you can still run a successful business. You can lead a normal life and be a ‘stable’ member of society.

“It seems so backward to even have to be fighting for this in 2021. But things have come so far and I refuse to not fight for equality.”

Jonathan Cryans at The Loft. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Since reopening, all three businesses have boomed, with the help of a growing online presence and word of mouth.

Janney & Cryans Menswear specialises in smart clothing and footwear. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ashley explained: “The community has kind of spread the word, I think it works well having all the businesses close together.

“Our local regulars supported us a lot through lockdown to keep us afloat, and since then it’s gone from strength to strength.”

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

You can take a look at the businesses on their Facebook pages by clicking the following links: