Potters Bar uniform and embroidery shop celebrates 44 years

Joy Prince (right) toasts 44 years of success with daughter-in-law and business partner Marci Lee. P

Joy Prince (right) toasts 44 years of success with daughter-in-law and business partner Marci Lee. Picture: Douglas Lee - Credit: Douglas Lee

If you have worn a school uniform at any point in the last 44 years in Potters Bar, chances are it’s Joy Prince who kitted you out.

“I still love it after that number of years,” said Joy.

The proprietor of school uniform supplier and embroidery business LeeJoy recently celebrated 44 years of trading, first in Cuffley and now in Potters Bar.

The business has just had a major refurbishment and equipment upgrade that means they can embroider or heat seal designs onto practically any fabric.

They put designs on everything from newborn baby blankets to dancers’ outfits, and even supply two schools in Cameroon.

And after so many years in the school uniform business, Joy doesn’t even have to use a measuring tape.

“I can look at a kid and actually kit them out in the right sizes,” she said.

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“I was born into the business,” she added, telling how it first began as an East End draper in 1914.

The business passed through her grandmother, mother, to Joy, and now she shares it with her daughter-in-law Marci to ensure it continues through the generations.

It means that LeeJoy have now got three generations of kids ready for school.

“If you were 10 when I started, you’re now 54,” she said. “I think it’s quite an achievement.

“It’s nice to see people when they come back and say hi.

“I do know my customers for a number of years, then I lose them because they don’t need me.

“And then they become parents and I see them again - it makes it a nice personal business which is what’s missing in this day and age.”

Faced with the pressures of the high street, Joy is convinced it’s this personal touch that keeps the business thriving.

“They say the high street is dying, but if you’re giving a personal service and giving what the customer wants then there are ways of surviving,” she said.

“When someone comes into our shop they are greeted with a hello.”

She is a discreet lady and would not reveal who among the great and the good she has clothed.

Nor, despite this newspaper’s best efforts, would she say what was the silliest thing she has embroidered onto a bride-to-be’s hen night outfit.