Minerva Ibraham: ‘My 21 years at Image in Fonthill Road’
- Credit: Archant
Long established tailor Minerva Ibraham, 65, tells the Gazette about the origins of her business and how it became a staple of Fonthill Road in Finsbury Park.
Walking down Fonthill Road, Minerva Ibraham’s shop – Image – stands out.
For a start, the front of the shop features a beautiful assortment of flowers. They helped her get second prize in last year’s Islington in Bloom awards.
But there’s also a story behind Image. Minerva started from nothing but eventually attracted customers from as far out as Amsterdam.
She opened Image 21 years ago, in 1997. She has been practising tailoring ever since she was 12 and developed her passion from there.
Minerva worked in various boutiques and dry cleaners, building up her experience before venturing off to open her own shop in Finsbury Park.
She recalls: “I was really passionate about fashion and I really, really enjoyed it. I chose the location in Fonthill Road purely because it was up the road from where I live.
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“When I first bought the shop it was derelict, a complete mess. I had to get my children and son-in-law to help me.”
For two years she was managing the shop alone, not being able to afford to hire staff.
“I sometimes used to work until three or four o’clock in the morning, just so I wasn’t letting anyone down.”
In the early days of her business she had to rely on word of mouth for custom.
She would do a lot of contract work for dry cleaners in Highgate and other locations. This, eventually, helped bring customers to her store.
Minerva continues: “I still have a lot of loyal local customers but I also get customers from far and wide.
“Believe it or not, I’ve had a girl from Amsterdam who flew over for a fitting in my store.”
Over the 21 years she has been in Fonthill Road, she has seen the street transform, apparently for the better.
“The location has changed tremendously,” she says. “It’s just so nice around here now. I mean, you can’t really compare.”
Her business focuses on tailoring and also dry cleaning. The shop does a lot of specialist dry cleaning, working with suede, leather, suits and wedding dresses. Minerva feels it is this technical knowledge that makes her business “special”.
She aims for the shop to continue offering an “excellent and caring” service – and potentially take first place in this year’s Islington in Bloom.