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Ally Lloyd

Focus on business: Ally Capellino

Ally Lloyd is the woman behind the new Ally Capellino shop on the corner of Portobello and Golborne Roads - she oversees the design of all the products sold there. The shop sells bags, satchels and rucksacks designed with timeless styling and made with materials like waxed canvas and leather.

The Portobello Road shop is Ally Capellino's second, with the other in Shoreditch's Calvert Avenue. The shop has a pleasingly stylish interior designed by Rupert Blanchard who has used salvaged materials including ex-school gym walnut flooring and grey enamel lampshades from an old car factory.

Ally, who used to live in North Kensington, explains where the Ally Capellino name comes from. "Back in 1980, I needed a brand name for a collection of hats we'd designed and made. Capellino is Italian for small hat so that made sense to us. Unfortunately, we spelled it wrong - it should be 'cappellino', but the name stuck.

Now, Ally Capellino make bags for Apple MacBooks, iPads and iPhones and the company sells an exclusive range of goods at the Tate including a pencil case, a wallet and an artist's apron. You'll also find Capellino bags at Liberty and the company is about to launch a range of bike panniers and courier bags.

Ally's long business career has not been without adversity. In the 1980s and 90s, Ally Capellino was a highly successful couture firm - Cherie Blair wore an elegant, understated Capellino outfit on the night of Labour's 1997 landslide election victory. But just two years later, the firm went bankrupt and Ally lost control of the Capellino name. Starting again from scratch, she regained ownership of the name and reinvented the company in its present incarnation.

"We concentrate on simple, straightforward design using durable materials and many of our pieces have a sense of fun as well as utility," says Ally. "I'm very pleased to have opened a store in Golborne. The neighbourhood has a great mixture of people, its own life and a real sense of community."

Shop manager Vivienne Griffin says, "Obviously, we were strangers when we arrived here and I think some people thought 'do we need another bag shop?'. But now we've got to know other local traders and they've been very friendly and welcoming. The area reminds me of New York where I used to work - there's lots of energy and so many characters, especially on market days."

Ally Capellino is at 312 Portobello Road, W10 5RU and 9 Calvert Avenue, E2 7JP