Boutique Magazine June 2021

Page 1

JUNE 2021

ISSUE 127

Bouncing back

Black-owned brands Chloe James Lifestyle Embracing sustainability Must-visit summer trade shows


www.capriclothingonline.com • sales@capriclothing.co.uk • Tel: 0203 819 0819


EDITOR’S LETTER

EDITOR Gemma Ward gemma@bpmedialtd.co.uk PRINT AND ONLINE SALES Julie Neill – julie@bpmedialtd.co.uk Tel 01795 515288 Tel 07960797383 Catherine Ridings – cath@bpmedialtd.co.uk Tel 01795 515288 DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Grant Waters – grant@cimltd.co.uk James Taylor – james@cimltd.co.uk Tel 01795 509108 CREDIT FACILITIES MANAGER Beccy Wells – beccy@bpmedialtd.co.uk Tel 01795 515288 PUBLISHERS Julie Neill, Beccy Wells MANAGING DIRECTOR Julie Neill © 2021 Boutique Professional Media Ltd, Office 2, The Old Stable Block, Crescent Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 7GU. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical or physical – without express prior permission and written consent of the publisher. Contributions are invited and when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Manuscripts should be type written. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during transmission or in the editor’s hands. In the absence of an agreement the copyright of all contributions, literary, photographic or artistic, belongs to Boutique Professional Media. The publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Publisher. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non publication of any advertisement.

ON THE COVER:

Image courtesy of Robell; Tel: 0207 636 3063 godske.com

Shopping ocal

T

he pandemic has transformed the British high street. But as more major retailers announce plans to close bricks-and-mortar stores, indies are reaping the benefits as consumers choose to “shop local” and support independent brands. Last month Marks and Spencer announced further store closure plans following losses on clothing and homeware sales. While some retail experts are concerned that losing big names from local high streets could potentially cause footfall to decline, others believe it is paving the way for new indies to thrive. Capri Clothing’s Hari Krishnadasan discusses why independent retailers have a bright future in his column on page 48. One such independent that has overcome the challenges of the pandemic is Chloe James Lifestyle. Established for 10 years, the boutique’s main revenue stream was always its bricks-and-mortar business. However, since the first lockdown, owner Donna Nichol says its e-commerce sales figures rose by + 1,000 per cent. Today, following the launch of a new website, the business is more evenly split between online and offline. Find out why this omni-channel style offering appeals to its customers – and how its owner plans to keep up with their changing expectations - over on page 43. But online isn’t the only major shift that’s currently affecting retailers.

According to recent research, almost two thirds of consumers now look for ethical or sustainable features when purchasing a product. Of course, we know about the wave of new sustainable fashion and accessories brands on the market that can help boost your boutique’s green credentials. However, is there even more that you can do to appeal to conscious consumers? Find out on page 35. Finally, black-owned fashion brands are finally gaining traction following the #blacklivesmatter movement – and it’s long overdue. We’ve picked out six stunning womenswear and accessories labels – all created by people of colour – that promise to breathe new life into your boutique’s rails (page 21). Gemma Ward, Editor follow us on Twitter @boutiquemag and Instagram @boutiquemaguk

STOCK UP

STOCK UP

Noir ece ities

DOWN TO BUSINESS

How to be more sustainable

BEAUTIFUL BLACK OWNED FASHION BRANDS TO ADD TO YOUR RAILS

Top Tips for embracing susTainabiliTy when selling online caThryn laVery on unsplash

SANTE + WADE HOUSE OF RG

EMME CADEAU

Footwear brand Emme Cadeau merges two of its founder’s major influences: Caribbean flair and New York edge. Designer Marcella Gift grew up on the on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, which is reflected in the brand’s uniqueness of materials and designs. Today she lives in New York City, which also influences her creations via structure, shape and fit. Comfort is a key focus for the brand’s footwear and Gift tests each shoe herself before it joins the collection, wearing every design continuously over several days before making tweaks. Each style is made in Portugal and features arch support and a three-layer foam insole to support the feet. Key styles include leather sneakers in eye-catching prints, bold towering party shoes and kitten heels. The brand also aims to be inclusive in its sizing, offering shoes running from EU 35 to 45. CONTACT: E: orders@emmecadeau. com emmecadeau.com 22 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

LOLA TARA

Founded by IB Oyerinde, a fashion model with Nigerian roots living in the US and Europe, Lola Tara offers a capsule collection of luxury jumpsuits, dresses and coordinates. The label’s timeless investment pieces can be dressed up or down, offering versatile garments that can be worn for work, special occasions and off-duty. Its premium range includes high-end made-in-the-UK pieces crafted in materials such as Japanese poly satin. Standout styles include the Sahara jumpsuit, Aspen shirt dress and wide-leg Siena trousers. Buyers can choose from a selection of styles and colourways to create their own unique edit. CONTACT: E: hello@lolatara.com lolatara.com

SHAHINI FAKHOURIE

Emerging black-owned fashion brand Shahini Fakhourie creates minimalist, high-end streetwear designs with a focus on art, fashion and sustainability. Its eponymous Miami-based designer focuses on sustainability, affordability, quality and transparency while delving into the past to create a collection that is as bold and innovative as its wearer. Founded in 2017 with the first capsule range produced in 2019, the label’s garments feature sustainable, UPF 50 and vegan fabrics, which are made in Brooklyn NYC inside a zero-waste factory. Key pieces include the open back Kelly dress (pictured) with woven metal straps and zipper trim along the neckline. CONTACT: shahinifakhourie.com

APRIL AND ALEX

UK-based womenswear brand April and Alex creates bold and edgy fashion-forward pieces for the empowered woman. The label is the creation of British/Nigerian awardwinning journalist and creative director Didi Akinyelure who was inspired by her mother’s career as a fashion designer and grandmother’s success as the owner of a tailoring business. The brand launched in 2018 and offers striking garments for powerful and independent women. Its pieces are edgy, daring and innovative with standout designs including oversized puff sleeved tops and showstopping dresses. CONTACT: E: sofia@blackpr.co.uk aprilandalex.co.uk

The decadent glamour, beautiful embellishment and vibrant opulence of Nigerian culture is embodied by contemporary womenswear brand House of RG, which fuses designer Dorothy L Ogwuru’s African heritage with sharp, bold designs. Each of its garments are made from 100 per cent cotton and are hand-beaded, elegantly hand-cut and custom handcrafted with limited runs. The brand is now stocked by Selfridges as part of the retailer’s new initiative to increase its representation of black-owned brands. Its capsule collection for the luxury department store includes the striking Erinma split-hem embellished mini dress with front split, capped sleeves, scoop neck, velvet texture and all-over bead and rhinestone embellishment. There’s also the head-turning Ume V-neck embellished mini dress, with long sleeves, wrap-over front and all-over bead and rhinestone embellishment. CONTACT: E: info@houseofrg.com houseofrg.com

Established by Shola Asante and Agnès Cushnie in 2019, SANTE + WADE is a premium disruptive footwear label that focuses on inclusivity. The brand offers high quality, comfortable and versatile products in up to a size EU 46 in both standard and wide fit. Its customers are modern women looking for choice, comfort and quality. Each collection offers a range of beautifully crafted and comfortable shoes that will take the wearer from one occasion to the next with ease. The brand works with multi-generational factories in Portugal that share its values, while it sources long-lasting leathers of Spanish and Italian origin for each of its collections. The label also uses 100 per cent recycled packaging, recycled cork beds on its sneakers and veg-tanned leathers wherever possible. SANTE + WADE’s designs have been worn by celebrities such as Kate Winslet and Paris Lee, while it was recently short-listed for Best New Brand and Team of the Year in the Drapers Footwear Awards 2021. CONTACT: E: hello@santewade.com santewade.com JUNE 2021 | boutique. | 23

A

ccording to recent research from customer experience and commerce agency LiveArea, 64 per cent of shoppers look for ethical or sustainable features when purchasing a product. However, price is still an important decision-driver for today’s shoppers as we emerge from the pandemic. While some shoppers may be willing to pay more for fashion garments that are environmentally friendly, retailers should prioritise making sustainability price-friendly and accessible to accommodate this changing consumer demand. Here’s how to appeal to today’s

conscious consumers when selling online…

1. Comprehensive content

According to LiveArea, almost two thirds of consumers look for ethical or sustainable credentials during their buying journey - so it’s important this information is readily available on your website. “Optimising category and product pages to ensure supply chain traceability and sustainability information is available and transparent is important, while threading additional content through blogs, social media, influencer campaigns and even charity initiatives

can give comprehensive coverage,” says the company’s group creative director Benoit Soucaret (uk. liveareacx.com). “This is also vital for visibility, as many consumers start their research on Google. So, ranking as a ‘sustainable retailer’ could be the difference between a new customer landing on your site instead of going to a competitor.” Taking Patagonia as the flag-bearer in sustainable fashion, its ‘impact’ information is available throughout its product pages and includes comprehensive information about how and where each product is made and materials used, with extra details about issues such as Fairtrade

36 | boutique. | june 2021

JUNE 2021 | boutique. | 3


Contact: Apt Collections Int 0207 580 3202 nigel@aptcollections.ltd.uk claudia@aptcollections.ltd.uk www.aptcollections.co.uk


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JUNE 2021 | boutique. | 5


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Fashion Fix

essential news for fashion indies

siMon BaK on unsPlash

Retailers failing to unite on and offline experiences as sector “heads towards an omni-channel future”

R

etailers are risking customer loyalty by failing to marry their physical and e-commerce experiences, reveals new research by global commerce firm PFS. Its report, Overcoming the Physical Disconnect: How Retailers Can Maintain Customer Loyalty in an Omnichannel World, analyses a survey of 2,000 UK consumers questioned about their shopping experience expectations following the pandemic. The majority of respondents (80 per cent) say they miss at least one aspect of the traditional shopping experience while perusing online, while 35 per cent said they’ve had such an unsatisfactory experience with a previously trusted brand that they’ve shopped elsewhere. Meanwhile, almost a quarter of consumers (23 per cent) agree that online stores either don’t do enough to engage with them or that they are prioritising profit over

customer satisfaction. Aspects most missed by shoppers when buying online include not being able to physically touch products (43 per cent) or not being able to test items for suitability (41 per cent). However, slow delivery (18 per cent), a lack of available stock (17 per cent) and difficult returns processes (14 per cent) were also cited as potential factors behind reduced interest in previously preferred brands. According to the findings, more than one third of consumers (37 per cent) would prefer to choose how their product is packaged; 64 per cent would be more loyal to brands who provide them with delivery time-frame options; 52 per cent would prefer to shop with companies that help them minimise their carbon footprint; and 49 per cent would prefer to shop with a brand that provides packaging that can be repurposed. Once the dust settles on the

reopening of the high street, more than one-third (34 per cent) of shoppers expect to return to e-commerce. And more than one-third (37 per cent) of Gen-Zedders expect retailers to focus on the in-store experience more than they did before the pandemic. PFS Europe’s Christophe Pecoraro comments: “We are heading towards an omni-channel future based around in-store experientialism in support of online points of sale. This will see a rise in demand for ‘buy online, pick-up in-store’ and ‘buy online, ship from store’ to bridge the gap between the two channels. Omnichannel optimisation is how retailers should be looking to establish loyalty. By converting physical stores into browsing locations, they’re more likely to meet future demands built around a hybrid offering.” To download the full report, visit marketing.pfsweb.com/overcoming-thephysical-disconnect june 2021 | boutique. | 7


FASHION FIX

North Notts BID invests in art installations to encourage footfall into its local town centres High streets across North Nottinghamshire are being transformed with eye-catching decorations to encourage people to shop locally. The initiative, launched by North Notts BID in partnership with decorations supplier City Dressing, includes pop-up installations and vibrant seating areas across Retford and Worksop town centres. Among the new installations include two new seating areas that have been adorned with planters and cycle-themed decorations suspended above Retford’s high street. The town centre’s large bus shelter – known locally as ‘the mushroom’ – is also covered in decorative flowers. In Worksop, Instagram-worthy angel wings have been placed outside the Savoy cinema, with more plans for an assortment of flowers and butterfly decorations on catenary wires to line the path along one of

its busiest streets. Across the town square, a pop-up park has also been installed (pictured above) – featuring artificial grass, a picket fence and an archway with five vintage Oxothemed seats. North Notts BID CE Sally Gillborn comments: “We’re delighted to have introduced these fun street dressings to public hotspots across North Nottinghamshire and we hope they will help the district to feel reinvigorated after a difficult year by encouraging people to return to the high street in support of local businesses.”

Evening Dresses Show to take place this September on Amalfi Coast If you’re looking for something different to shake up this year’s buying calendar, Italian trade event the Evening Dresses Show is set to take place this 1-3 September on the Amalfi Coast. The show will offer 4,000 square metres of event-focused womenswear, menswear and accessories inside the Zaha Hadid Maritime Station, which overlooks the coastal town of Salerno. Inside there’s also a Talk Area for interviews and webinars, a shooting area for photography and a runway area hosting live shows. Attending buyers will be able to discover some of the best Made-In-Italy brands and textiles as the show’s organisers strive to curate the world’s leading selection. Evening Dresses Show first launched in November 2019. Following its 8 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

successful debut, the event returned in October 2020 with a smaller physical show and virtual showcase in response to pandemic restrictions. Italian labels taking part included Alexandra Pellegrino, Lucia Pi, Melina Baffa, Nino Lettieri, Via Della Spiga Milano and You Are You. For more information, visit edshow.it

“Brexit having bigger impact on UK exports than pandemic” says ParcelHero A new government report highlights the “real impact the double whammy’ of Brexit and the coronavirus has imposed on UK trade,” says ParcelHero. It says ONS report, The impacts of EU exit and the coronavirus on UK trade in goods, reveals steep declines in imports and exports to both the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world. ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks, comments: “The major new government report examines UK world trade figures in the first quarter (January-March) of 2021 and compares them to the same period in 2018, before any potential impact of Brexit preparations and the pandemic on exports and imports. This comparison gives the true picture of the damage done to UK trade by both events. “Total trade in goods with EU countries decreased by 23.1 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 compared to Q1 2018. Contrary to the claims of Brexiteers during the referendum, this was not balanced by an increase in trade to nonEuropean countries, such as the USA. Non-EU trade declined by 0.8 per cent in the same period, though total trade with non-EU countries surpassed that with EU countries in the first quarter of 2021 for the first time.” He adds: “The report also reveals that in 2021 Brexit has had a far more significant impact than the pandemic. In mid-February 2021, over 55 per cent of exporters said Brexit changes were causing them problems, compared to only around 10 per cent of exporters saying Covid was a challenge.”


www.joannaedwardsagency.co.uk 07989014141 / 07512550346 joannaedwardsagency@gmail.com


FASHION FIX

Disability-conscious fashion brand among small awards 2021 winners KINTUSGI FOUNDER EMMA MCCLELLAND

Disability-conscious fashion brand Kintsugi Clothing was among the winners of this year’s Small Awards, which celebrates the UK’s most inspiring small businesses. The label specialises in fashionable clothing with disabled women in mind and it scooped the Digital Star Award for its online marketing strategy that has enabled it to grow and fill an important gap in the market. Meanwhile, Cornish retail and wholesale brand Lucy Kemp Jewellery was presented with the Bricks and Clicks Award for is multi-channel approach and new start-up Black Noir won the New Kid on the Block Award after attracting 60 sellers to its platform in just six months. Now in its fifth year, The Small Awards is organised by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates small businesses in the UK. “The Small Awards is all about celebrating the uniquely special and amazing contribution of small firms, which has never been more apparent than in

10 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

barometer Industry sales fIgures aPrIl 2021 (versus aPrIl 2020)

+38.33% Average sales quantity

+27.60% Average selling price the last year,” says founder Michelle Ovens CBE. “All small businesses should be proud of the way they have coped during this pandemic, but special congratulations must go to our amazing winners who have inspired us all! We are so delighted to have delivered such a fun event, and to have managed to take an online event to the next level with so many door-step surprises!”

British brand Scream Pretty launches in America as part of international expansion strategy British independent jewellery brand Scream Pretty is expanding into the US market with the opening of a new hub in San Francisco. Founded in 2016 by sisters Lucy Lee and Jessica Pearce, the USA launch follows a natural progression in the brand’s international strategy, which successfully launched in Australia in 2019. Scream Pretty will be launching its best-selling recycled sterling silver and gold-plated recycled sterling silver designs to the US market online via

Boutique

us.screampretty.com across three initial drops - starting this month. “We’ve been overwhelmed by support for our designs in the UK and have a loyal following of US followers on social, so it felt like the right time to create a hub in America offering the same fast shipping and customer service,” say the brand’s co-founders. “Our ethos is ‘be seen, be heard, Scream Pretty’ and we’re excited to continue our celebration of self-expression and individuality - whatever our customers’ style, age, gender or shape.”

+2.57% Profit margin These figures represent findings from a cross section of independent online and bricks-and-mortar retailers around the UK. Total stock management and EPoS provider Top to Toe has compiled this industry index to offer Boutique readers an insight into what’s happening on the high street and online. Tel: 0203 376 5888 E: info@toptotoe.com Toptotoe.com



FASHION FIX

Chain reaction

Hong Kong womenswear label Syra J pushes clothing beyond fashion and into art. Its latest collection features garments in fabrics decorated with gold chains, which represent hope following the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. Expect opulent fabrics and flattering silhouettes. £POA; E: sofia@blackpr.co.uk

Feel unique

Independent British label Maeve with Love creates ethical casual basics featuring modern art prints. Each organic t-shirt features eye-catching artwork that has been hand-drawn by its eponymous founder. From £14 each; Tel: 07834 171 875 E: maevewithloveart@gmail.com

Boutique oves…

OUR PICK OF THIS MONTH’S MOST TEMPTING FASHION FAVOURITES

Jewel purpose

Stocked by leading high-end indies such as London’s Wolf and Badger, Tiana Jewel designs statement pieces encrusted with crystals that have been handpicked for their raw beauty and unique powerhealing properties. £POA; E: sofia@blackpr.co.uk

Sustainable luxe

Ethical jewellery brand Mamour Paris is committed to sustainable production, crafting its pieces from recycled brass, silver and gold. Its debut collection features trendled rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings with standout designs including the Regal Crown Trinket Necklace (pictured). £POA; E: contact@mamourparis.com mamourparis.com 12 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

Easy tiger

Go wild at home with Jonathan Alder’s Safari Shaped Puzzle, packaged in a chic matte-finish box that’s ideal for gifting. £POA; uk.jonathanadler.com/ pages/wholesale-application


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FASHION FIX

#Grid goals Top posTs we’ve liked on The ‘gram This monTh

@foxandfeatheruk

@irisandviolet_shop

“Which one would you go for? Let me know... For a bonus point: which one do you think I went for?”

“It’s our 2nd birthday! A special thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year. We are so grateful and looking forward to opening a new shop in Cambridge!”

@onjenu

@downyourhighstreet_

“Love is Love #pride #loveislove #onjenu #rainbow #goodvibes”

“…we are encouraging customers to #THINKWHEREYOUSHOP because local businesses need your support...”

Social butterflies @harrogate fashionweek

Follow the UK trade show’s Instagram feed for regular updates on new indie brands, product launches and event news. 14 | boutique. | june 2021

@alc_edinburgh

Edinburgh-based denim specialist ALC posts daily updates on its latest product drops, store news and beautifully curated displays and outfits.

Three inspiraTional insTagram accounTs To follow now

@biraretail

Offering regular news updates especially for independent retailers, Bira’s feed is a great place to keep up with new industry developments on Instagram.


Lyn Burns Fashion Agency Brands: Vetono, Simclan, Yellow Label. Showing at: 2nd–8th August at: The Village Hall, Waterhouse Lane, Kingswood, Surrey, KT20 6EB 16th–19th August at: Chambers Buildings, Elliott House, 151 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WD For appointments and any other information contact Anthony Packer Fashions: M 07525 059100 E: anthonypacker@me.com


FASHION FIX

Flexible buying

Order what you need only when you need it with by basic/ OWN. As well as minimising financial outlay and maximising flexibility for its stockists, the brand’s eco-friendly approach ensures no wasteful overstock. Standout pieces include these 100 per cent merino wool trousers from its blusbar line - knitted in Denmark and available in over 60 colourways - as well as this poplin Grandad blouse from the OWN label. £POA; E: pg@bybasics.com bybasics.com

Soft sell

Eco chic

SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS AND BRANDS

With an organic plant-based formula that leaves clothing soft to touch, Attirecare’s Prima Fabric Softener is free of harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances so shoppers can look after their clothes without harming the planet. £POA; E: hello@attirecare.com

Conscious commitment

Italian family-run label Mama B is focused on sustainability, embracing eco-tech fabrics for its collections that transform waste from the textile industry into beautiful soft yarns. The brand’s packaging is also recyclable and compostable while local production and its made-to-order buying model ensures less waste. £POA; Tel: 0207 971 1084 mdainternational.co.uk

Sustainable streetwear Since its launch in October last year, Manchester streetwear label Hex MCR has created a new sustainable range featuring unisex garments made from GOTScertified organic cotton. Each product arrives in the brand’s biodegradable and water-soluble packaging too. £POA; hexmcr. com/collections.organics 16 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

Two sides

Womenswear label Isabel Manns is committed to creating eco-friendly collections, offering British-made pieces in sustainable fabrics. Its new seasonless collection offers year-round staples such as these reversible palazzo pants, which can be worn on the printed or plain emerald green side to create two different looks. £POA; E: info@isabelmanns.com


bybasics.com

pg@bybasics.com


FASHION FIX

Into the blue

Set with dreamy turquoise stones, Scream Pretty’s Bezel Huggie Earrings are the perfect summer accessory. Each features a stunning bezel setting that will add sea blue lustre to jewellery displays. Choose from sterling silver plated either in rhodium or 18ct gold. £11.50; Tel: 01753 424 160 E: sales@screampretty.com tradescreampretty.com

Free spirit

Feel-good fashion

Part of Capri Clothing’s SS21 collection, this effortless easy-to-wear shift dress will draw shoppers in with its eye-catching print and cheerful hues. It’s the perfect choice for that feel-good summer look. Available in sizes 10-20, £26; Tel: 0203 819 0819 E: sales@capriclothing.co.uk capriclothingonline.com

Founded in 2016, Armenian brand Z.G.EST creates timeless sustainable clothing for free-spirited women. Each collection is based on quality craftmanship and premium fabrics, offering thoughtfully designed modern classics. £POA; E: sofia@blackpr.co.uk

Treasure trove

INSPIRING BUYS TO ELEVATE YOUR OFFER THIS SEASON AND BEYOND

Water saver

In an effort to reduce its environmental impact, Lee Jeans’s new innovative Crystal Clear dye process helps to cut down water waste. The technique drastically reduces the amount of chemicals needed to dye denim, making it easier to recycle the water used during production. Choose from on-trend styles for men and women. £POA; Tel: 0845 600 8383 eu.lee. com/uk-en/home

18 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

On a high

Founded by NYC-based designer Marcella Gift, footwear brand Emme Cadeau is inspired by its creator’s city lifestyle and Caribbean roots. Expect bold designs, quality craftmanship and comfort-driven details such as arch support and threelayer foam insoles. £POA; E: orders@emmecadeau.com emmecadeau.com


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What to buy noW

Black-owned brands

A

fter a monumental year that catapulted the #BlackLivesMatter movement into the mainstream, black-owned fashion brands are gaining some welldeserved traction. We round-up some rail-worthy womenswear and accessories brands that will bring diversity and glamour to your boutique…

LoLa taRa june 2021 | boutique. | 21


STOCK UP

Noir ece ities BEAUTIFUL BLACK OWNED FASHION BRANDS TO ADD TO YOUR RAILS

EMME CADEAU

Footwear brand Emme Cadeau merges two of its founder’s major influences: Caribbean flair and New York edge. Designer Marcella Gift grew up on the on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, which is reflected in the brand’s uniqueness of materials and designs. Today she lives in New York City, which also influences her creations via structure, shape and fit. Comfort is a key focus for the brand’s footwear and Gift tests each shoe herself before it joins the collection, wearing every design continuously over several days before making tweaks. Each style is made in Portugal and features arch support and a three-layer foam insole to support the feet. Key styles include leather sneakers in eye-catching prints, bold towering party shoes and kitten heels. The brand also aims to be inclusive in its sizing, offering shoes running from EU 35 to 45. CONTACT: E: orders@emmecadeau. com emmecadeau.com 22 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

LOLA TARA

Founded by IB Oyerinde, a fashion model with Nigerian roots living in the US and Europe, Lola Tara offers a capsule collection of luxury jumpsuits, dresses and coordinates. The label’s timeless investment pieces can be dressed up or down, offering versatile garments that can be worn for work, special occasions and off-duty. Its premium range includes high-end made-in-the-UK pieces crafted in materials such as Japanese poly satin. Standout styles include the Sahara jumpsuit, Aspen shirt dress and wide-leg Siena trousers. Buyers can choose from a selection of styles and colourways to create their own unique edit. CONTACT: E: hello@lolatara.com lolatara.com

SHAHINI FAKHOURIE

Emerging black-owned fashion brand Shahini Fakhourie creates minimalist, high-end streetwear designs with a focus on art, fashion and sustainability. Its eponymous Miami-based designer focuses on sustainability, affordability, quality and transparency while delving into the past to create a collection that is as bold and innovative as its wearer. Founded in 2017 with the first capsule range produced in 2019, the label’s garments feature sustainable, UPF 50 and vegan fabrics, which are made in Brooklyn NYC inside a zero-waste factory. Key pieces include the open back Kelly dress (pictured) with woven metal straps and zipper trim along the neckline. CONTACT: shahinifakhourie.com


STOCK UP

SANTE + WADE HOUSE OF RG

APRIL AND ALEX

UK-based womenswear brand April and Alex creates bold and edgy fashion-forward pieces for the empowered woman. The label is the creation of British/Nigerian awardwinning journalist and creative director Didi Akinyelure who was inspired by her mother’s career as a fashion designer and grandmother’s success as the owner of a tailoring business. The brand launched in 2018 and offers striking garments for powerful and independent women. Its pieces are edgy, daring and innovative with standout designs including oversized puff sleeved tops and showstopping dresses. CONTACT: E: sofia@blackpr.co.uk aprilandalex.co.uk

The decadent glamour, beautiful embellishment and vibrant opulence of Nigerian culture is embodied by contemporary womenswear brand House of RG, which fuses designer Dorothy L Ogwuru’s African heritage with sharp, bold designs. Each of its garments are made from 100 per cent cotton and are hand-beaded, elegantly hand-cut and custom handcrafted with limited runs. The brand is now stocked by Selfridges as part of the retailer’s new initiative to increase its representation of black-owned brands. Its capsule collection for the luxury department store includes the striking Erinma split-hem embellished mini dress with front split, capped sleeves, scoop neck, velvet texture and all-over bead and rhinestone embellishment. There’s also the head-turning Ume V-neck embellished mini dress, with long sleeves, wrap-over front and all-over bead and rhinestone embellishment. CONTACT: E: info@houseofrg.com houseofrg.com

Established by Shola Asante and Agnès Cushnie in 2019, SANTE + WADE is a premium disruptive footwear label that focuses on inclusivity. The brand offers high quality, comfortable and versatile products in up to a size EU 46 in both standard and wide fit. Its customers are modern women looking for choice, comfort and quality. Each collection offers a range of beautifully crafted and comfortable shoes that will take the wearer from one occasion to the next with ease. The brand works with multi-generational factories in Portugal that share its values, while it sources long-lasting leathers of Spanish and Italian origin for each of its collections. The label also uses 100 per cent recycled packaging, recycled cork beds on its sneakers and veg-tanned leathers wherever possible. SANTE + WADE’s designs have been worn by celebrities such as Kate Winslet and Paris Lee, while it was recently short-listed for Best New Brand and Team of the Year in the Drapers Footwear Awards 2021. CONTACT: E: hello@santewade.com santewade.com JUNE 2021 | boutique. | 23



Going global

PROMOTION

B2B markEtplacE tradEGala is partNEriNG with thE Uk GovErNmENt to hElp fashioN BraNds ExpaNd iNto NEw iNtErNatioNal markEts

F

ashion businesses that have their sights set on global expansion can take advantage of the latest initiative from leading UK-based B2B fashion marketplace TradeGala. The company has partnered with the Department for International Trade (DIT) – an arm of the UK government that helps businesses export and grow into global markets – for its exciting E-Exporting Programme. TradeGala joins an elite group of global marketplaces already taking part in the programme, which has helped thousands of UK brands and retailers launch into new international markets. The E-Exporting Programme will enable TradeGala to expand its reach into new international markets, giving its brands greater visibility to buyers around the globe. The company will also be running a recruitment drive to onboard more UK brands that want to expand internationally. This means that its marketplace will be able to offer a bigger choice of brands for UK buyers and their boutiques. To launch the partnership, DIT and TradeGala will hold a joint webinar on 29 June 2021 (visit tradegala.com for updates). TradeGala’s joint CEO Mina Melikova says the DIT collaboration is an opportunity to make a positive change for the fashion industry: “2020 was an unprecedented year for UK fashion on all fronts,” she says. “The realities of Brexit have caused confusion among both brands and retailers, and the pandemic has made us all rethink how we need to move forward as an industry. Our collaboration with the DIT has come at the perfect time for TradeGala,

BEN whitE oN UNsplash

helping us to help business owners reach a wider audience than ever before and give a much-needed boost for international trade within the UK fashion industry.” TradeGala is the brainchild of Kuganeswaran Thangarajah and Mina Melikova who share almost 25 years’ experience in the fashion and wholesale industries. The online marketplace was created to fill a gap in the market for a user-friendly online platform offering a B2C style user experience for B2B fashion companies. Since its launch in 2019, the site has already helped a number of emerging brands take their first steps into the international wholesale market. Its new partnership with DIT will see it reaching a wider range of fashion businesses and entrepreneurs, helping its brands navigate the network of international trade. While TradeGala works with wellknown fashion brands such as Paradox London and Gatsbylady London, its zero-cost registration and membership

plans makes it ideal for emerging brands and entrepreneurs wanting to take their first steps into fashion wholesale and international trade. Smaller brands can be eased into wholesaling slowly by setting lower minimum orders and offering their available stock alongside their other retail channels. Using simple merchandising techniques that are common in the B2C sector, brands are able to showcase their products on TradeGala in front of thousands of pre-screened buyers from all over the world. The company also helps its customers adopt Fast Provisioning, which is appealing to boutique buyers as it enables them to react quickly to new trends and buy only what they need. Its B2B marketplace model is especially geared up for this type of buying and wholesaling as it offers live stock visibility ensuring that products can be delivered in a matter of days. CONTACT: E: support@tradegala.com tradegala.com JUNE 2021 | boutique. | 25




SHOW DATES

Summer plans

AS BUYERS PREPARE TO VISIT TRADE SHOWS AFTER AN UNWELCOME HIATUS, HERE’S OUR PICK OF TRAVEL WORTHY FASHION EXHIBITIONS SET TO TAKE PLACE AT HOME AND ABROAD

Although international travel is still very much up in the air (or not, if you’ll excuse the pun), fashion trade events are set to take place this summer

both in the UK and across Europe. The majority of shows are free to attend and – if you can get there – promise to provide endless inspiration for

WORLD EVOLUTION PARIS LE SHOWROOM

PARIS WHEN: 5 – 9 July WHERE: Atelier Richelieu and the 5 rue du Mail, Paris KEY EXHIBITORS: TBC WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT: Organised by Messe Frankfurt Paris, the second Texworld Evolution Paris showroom will be held at two locations to offer a safer environment for exhibitors and buyers. The boutique-style event offers a tightly edited selection of key products from textile trade shows Apparel Sourcing, Avantex, Leatherworld and Texworld Paris, which are chosen by the show’s team so buyers can curate the perfect 28 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

collections for their stores. The first edition of the show took place in February 2021 and it was a huge success with buyers and exhibitors. Visitors are provided with tablets on arrival to help with show navigation, ordering and contact with manufacturers. To help prevent overcrowding, buyers will be admitted by invitation while boutique owners in the UK can also attend a virtual version of the event. TICKETS: Pre-register for free entry to the show via texworld-paris. fr.messefrankfurt.com

boutique buyers. So from INDX in Solihull to the Evening Dresses Show on the Amalfi Coast, here we round up some of 2021’s most exciting events…

INDX WHEN: 27-29 July WHERE: Cranmore Park Conference and Event Centre, Solihull KEY EXHIBITORS: TBC WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT: After a 15-month interval, INDX is combining its Womenswear and Accessories shows this summer to offer a threeday bumper buying event. Organiser Associated Independent Stores (AIS) says it is opening up all the exhibition space at Cranmore Park for one season only - meaning attendees can access both events simultaneously for the first time. Buyers can expect to find an “unrivalled selection of brands” at the show across clothing, footwear and accessories. Meanwhile, organisers say delivering a safe event will be its top priority and it will be closely monitoring government guidelines in the run up to the event while implementing its own safety measures to ensure the confidence of visitors and exhibitors. TICKETS: Pre-register for free entry via indxshows.co.uk


SHOW DATES

HARROGATE FASHION WEEK

EVENING DRESSES SHOW

UK WHEN: 1-2 August WHERE: Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate KEY EXHIBITORS: CotiVision, Capri Clothing, DRAPS, Kevan Jon, Funky Staff, Compli K, KT x BB, JBees Millinery, Arche Shoes and Allison Fashions (for the full brand list, visit harrogatefashionweek.com). WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT: As one of the only womenswear shows to by held during the summer months, Harrogate Fashion Week is expected to be a popular industry destination. The show will run for two days showcasing around 100

TOP DRAWER WHEN: 12-14 September WHERE: Olympia London KEY EXHIBITORS: TBC WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT: Held in the heart of London, Top Drawer is the UK’s leading designled trade show, carefully curated with buyers in mind. The show is split into nine distinctive sectors to make product sourcing easier, with categories including homeware, gifts, fashion, craft, stationery, toys, food and wellbeing. Buyers can access a mix of new emerging talent and top names from its line-up of exhibitors, which includes 1,500 brands. It also offers the latest trend and business insight with its new season forecasts and Retailfest and Design Talk seminar programme TICKETS: Join Top Drawer’s mailing list for updates via topdrawer.co.uk

new collections from emerging and well-established womenswear and accessories labels. This season will also see the launch of a new Prom Pavilion, offering specialist promwear brands such as Rachel Allan, Special Day, Romantica, Ellie Wilde, Simply Divine and Gino Cerruti. The beautiful spa town of Harrogate is easy to travel to by rail or car while special rates have been negotiated for visitors at The Hotel St George and the Crown Plaza, which are both located within walking distance of the venue. TICKETS: Pre-register for free entry via harrogatefashionweek.com

WHEN: 1-3 September WHERE: Zaha Hadid Maritime Station, Salerno, Italy KEY EXHIBITORS: Alexandra Pellegrino, Lucia Pi, Melina Baffa, Nino Lettieri, Paolo Semeraro, Via Della Spiga Milano and You Are You. WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT: Located on Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast, the Evening Dresses Show promises to provide inspiration and top product finds for fashion buyers. Event venue the Zaha Hadid Maritime Station, which overlooks the coastal town of Salerno and sea, offers 4,000 square metres of event-focused womenswear, menswear and accessories. There’s also a Talk Area for interviews and webinars, a shooting area for photography and a runway area hosting live shows. Attending buyers will be able to discover some of the best MadeIn-Italy brands and textiles as the show’s organisers strive to curate the world’s leading selection. TICKETS: For more information, visit edshow.it

ITALY

JUNE 2021 | boutique. | 29


SHOW DATES

HOME AND GIFT WHEN: 18-21 July WHERE: Harrogate Convention Centre and the grounds of the DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel and Spa KEY EXHIBITORS: Lots of big name favourites have already signed up to exhibit at the show including Joe Davies, Bronte by Moon, Gallery Direct, Big Metal London, Accessories by Park Lane and Caroline Gardner. There will be lots to see for those looking for new suppliers too, with Bookspeed, Captivate Brands, The Little Botanical, Blade and Rose, Toasted Crumpet and many more also showing. Meanwhile, key fashion brands include Midhaven, Swole Panda, Sadler, Suzie Blue, Vintage Child, Miss Sparrow, LOV Clothing and Envy Jewellery (for the full brand list, visit homeandgift.co.uk). WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT: Taking place in Harrogate this 18-21 July, the Home and Gift show is set to be the first large-scale buying and selling event for the gift and interiors industry in almost 18 months. This edition will mark the show’s 60-year anniversary – meaning there will be lots of celebrations and social events taking place alongside its usual exhibitor offer. Buyers will be able to explore products from around 650+ home and gift suppliers as well as an additional 50+ furniture exhibitors across the show’s four days. It will also host a wealth of social events including Sundowners on the Sunday, gin and tonics on the lawn, street food, and the famous Home and Gift exhibitor party. Harrogate itself will undoubtedly provide a big draw to the show’s expected 10,000+ visitors. It’s a lively town full of independent shops, wine bars, restaurants and pubs. There’s also tourist attractions including its famous spa and Betty’s Tea Rooms. Harrogate is easily accessible - especially by train - with the service between London/Edinburgh to Leeds/York 30 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

UK

running every half hour on weekdays. There are 12 trains from London to Harrogate every day, including direct trains. Or, if you’d rather drive, there are 200 car parking spaces available at the Harrogate Convention Centre and hundreds more at the Great Yorkshire Showground. Organisers are providing free transport from the Showground to the venue to make getting to the show as easy as possible for attendees. Visitors are encouraged to book their accommodation as early as possible, as Harrogate is expected to be busy this

summer. Visit reservation-highway. co.uk/gift21 to search for hotels. “This is an amazing opportunity to be the first large-scale in-person trade event off the blocks - and one that we knew we had to take,” says show director Russell Rule. “Home and Gift will be the same festival that we know and love, with a fun summery vibe and lots of opportunities for the industry to do business and to catch-up with colleagues and old friends.” TICKETS: Pre-register for a free ticket ia homeandgift.co.uk.


• Bespoke packaging tissue – all colours available • Personalised branding for your stores T: 01395 223405 E: info@suttonswrap.co.uk www.suttonswrap.co.uk June 2021 | boutique. | 31


ACCESSORIES

Fashion Extras GEMMA WARD PICKS OUT THIS MONTH’S BEST BAGS, SHOES AND HOMEWARES

Ocean drive

All tied up

Sésam’s silk scarves are elegant and versatile as well as GOTS and SERI certified – making them a great choice for boutique edits this SS21. £POA; E: sesam@sesamoffical.com

A lot of bottle

Calming influence

Made in the UK and packaged in recyclable amber glass, Chalk’s handpoured natural wax Lavender and Geranium candle will light up any room. £15; chalkuk.com/wholesale

Cool to be kind

With a circle design that represents the continuous motion of the tides, 10 per cent of the profits from Pureshore’s Ola collection go to Cornish charity The Wave Project. £POA; Tel: 0208 946 4568 E: info@pureshorejewellery.com

Plastic-free, double walled and insulated, Italian brand 24Bottle’s Clima Bottles are leakproof and made from stainless steel to keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. £POA; E: sales@24bottles.com

Super-cool and functional while retaining some major eco credentials, the unisex backpacks by Berlin brand Ucon Acrobatics are made from discarded plastic bottles. £POA; E: hello@ucon-acrobatics.com

Clean and conscious

Pride movement

Turning heads

Packed with natural ingredients and no water-polluting silicone, L’Occitane’s Gentle and Balance Solid Shampoo cleanses hair while caring for the environment too. £POA; uk.loccitane.com 32 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

With 7 per cent of sales proceeds going to global LGBTQIA+ community movement All Out, Havaianas’ new Pride Collection features five flip-flop styles, a mini bag, keyring and socks. £POA; Tel: 0203 932 4749

London-based milliner Merve Bayindir creates show-stopping special occasion headwear such as this sequinned headband decorated with mother of pearl flowers. £POA; mervebayindir.com


ACCESSORIES

Timeless style

Independent accessories designer Taylor Yates meticulously handcrafts each of its pieces in the UK, creating timeless and sustainable investment buys. £POA; tayloryates.com

Country life

Natural healing

Stocked by London indie Wolf and Badger, Tiana Jewel designs statement jewellery encrusted with powerhealing crystals. £POA; E: sofia@ blackpr.co.uk

Modern elegance

Message received

London-based stationery brand Martha Brook offers a small collection of foil embossed cards that are perfect for boutique gifting edits. £POA; E: hello@marthabrook.com

Throw in the towel

Hand finished in England using the finest pure silk twill, Clare Haggas’s limited edition scarves incorporate original artwork to create timeless investment pieces. £100; Tel: 07714 655 233 E: emily@clarehaggas.com

London-based brand Jori Papa creates elegant footwear with creative silhouettes and colour combinations. Standout styles include its Mia Hot Pink Mules crafted in luxe nappa leather. £POA; joripapa.com

Labeca London is redefining terry towelling with its versatile and travel-friendly dresses, rompers and two-piece sets that are perfect for sunbathing in the garden. £POA; E: info@labecalondon.com

Father’s Day

Blooming lovely

Take note

Perfect for Father’s Day edits, Barbour’s best-selling moccasin-style Monty Slippers feature fluffy lining and cushioned insoles for ultimate comfort. £POA; Tel: 0191 496 9538 E: sales@barbour.com

Founded by boutique owner Penny Callaghan, From My Mother’s Garden creates robes and kimonos featuring pretty prints on environmentally responsible fabrics. £POA; frommymothersgarden.co.uk/wholesale

Offering timeless stationery, the Katie Leamon X Lily and Lionel Heirloom SS21 collection includes luxury notebooks with eye-catching prints that are perfect for gifting. £POA; E: katie@katieleamon.com JUNE 2021 | boutique. | 33


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Down to Business InsIght for fashIon IndIes

Eco movement

A

CharLes deLuVIo on unsPLash

s more shoppers actively hunt out conscious fashion brands online, are you effectively communicating your boutique’s green credentials? We speak to industry experts to find out how indies can showcase their sustainability efforts to shoppers… june 2021 | boutique. | 35


DOWN TO BUSINESS

How to be more sustainable Top Tips for embracing susTainabiliTy when selling online caThryn laVery on unsplash

A

ccording to recent research from customer experience and commerce agency LiveArea, 64 per cent of shoppers look for ethical or sustainable features when purchasing a product. However, price is still an important decision-driver for today’s shoppers as we emerge from the pandemic. While some shoppers may be willing to pay more for fashion garments that are environmentally friendly, retailers should prioritise making sustainability price-friendly and accessible to accommodate this changing consumer demand. Here’s how to appeal to today’s 36 | boutique. | june 2021

conscious consumers when selling online…

1. Comprehensive content

According to LiveArea, almost two thirds of consumers look for ethical or sustainable credentials during their buying journey - so it’s important this information is readily available on your website. “Optimising category and product pages to ensure supply chain traceability and sustainability information is available and transparent is important, while threading additional content through blogs, social media, influencer campaigns and even charity initiatives

can give comprehensive coverage,” says the company’s group creative director Benoit Soucaret (uk. liveareacx.com). “This is also vital for visibility, as many consumers start their research on Google. So, ranking as a ‘sustainable retailer’ could be the difference between a new customer landing on your site instead of going to a competitor.” Taking Patagonia as the flag-bearer in sustainable fashion, its ‘impact’ information is available throughout its product pages and includes comprehensive information about how and where each product is made and materials used, with extra details about issues such as Fairtrade


DOWN TO BUSINESS and its carbon footprint pledge.

2. Search and filters

One reason the online shopping experience is so convenient is because consumers can browse quickly through vast categories of products. “Most leading e-commerce sites have excellent search and filter functionalities and it’s essential that you think about adding these to your site too,” says Soucaret. “Filters on e-commerce pages allow users to narrow down masses of products by criteria such as product type, size, brand, colour and price range. These can also be leveraged to streamline the online browsing experience to help users find sustainable, locally sourced or vegan products.” Online fashion giant ASOS recently introduced a ‘responsible’ filter, allowing users to find garments that are made from recycled or sustainable materials.

3. Traceability

According to McKinsey, consumers are increasingly expecting companies to be fully transparent about their supply chain. “There are now many questions around how the industry values those who grow the cotton and stitch the products as well as the environment and equitable profit for those in the supply chain,” says Soucaret. “Many believe positive change starts with transparency and traceability. Marks and Spencer is leading the way on the high street with its online interactive supply chain map featuring the locations of all active clothing, food, homeware and beauty product manufacturers. This way, consumers can easily research how products were made, where they come from and what materials are used.”

4. Ethical merchandising

If retailers are truly committed to delivering ethical alternatives, their eco ranges should be front and centre of their website. “There are merchandising tactics brands use to entice customers to purchase seasonal collections, hot trends, influencerinspired ranges and gifting occasions from their homepage,” says Soucaret.

“Retailers also use personalised recommendations and bundles, which are useful tactics to increase AOV, push new products and clear excess stock. But we don’t often see brands pushing their latest organic, vegan or recycled collections. Likewise, personalisation efforts should be tailored to these shopping habits, whereby customers with sustainability preferences can view recommended products that match their ethics.”

5. Conscious packaging

Research shows that around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year, harming sea life and damaging habitats. So, if you’re currently using plastic to send out your e-commerce orders, there are eco alternatives to improve your sustainability. “The re-introduction of a bill that pledges to push for the ban of single-use items has been implemented to tackle the issues surrounding single-use plastic - and this is where retailers can come in,” says Laurane Saad, international marketing coordinator for reusable packaging innovator Loadhog (loadhog.com). “Relying on paper packaging as opposed to plastic is a great way to become more sustainable without forfeiting quality or appearance. Since paper is recyclable, renewable and biodegradable, there are many reasons why it is a great alternative. As for other environmentally-friendly alternatives, you could ditch plastic tape for a self-adhesive paper version and even switch protective materials such as bubble wrap with a paper alternative.”

6. Transport choices

Figures from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy show that transport remains the largest source of pollution in the UK. With this in mind, action is being taken on the sale of fuels and responsible courier services are trying to find ways to reduce their pollution figures by turning to emission-free methods as opposed to relying on petrol and diesel. “So, before you base your courier decision on affordability

or reliability, consider companies that have introduced green schemes too – ones you can benefit from now and in the future,” says Saad. “It’s worth pointing out that the vehicle used is not the only attribute to consider, either. To help limit travel time, couriers can use a returnable transit packaging product like a plastic pallet. This increases vehicle fill by up to 40 per cent, making your business more efficient with deliveries and better for the environment.”

7. Giving something back

Retailers can also give the environment a helping hand by offsetting emissions - and planting trees is one way of achieving this. “After you reach a certain number of items sold, you could pledge to plant one tree,” suggests Saad. “This initiative will not only help your business become more sustainable, but it shows customers that you value the planet by offsetting the emissions you’ve produced. There are charities that plant trees in towns and cities across the county. Show your support to local and national causes by teaming up with a charity in an official partnership. It will also help encourage brand loyalty to your customers too.” Furthermore, you can also help your customers offset their own carbon emissions: “One way to do this is to introduce reusability into the products you sell, for example, reusable cups and tote bags,” she adds. “Or you could state that your packaging is recyclable and encourage customers to recycle it after use.”

8. After-sales tips

According to Soucaret, supporting the conscious consumer shouldn’t end at checkout. “One of the major issues with over-consumption is a lack of education around how to prolong the life of products, re-use or recycle them and recycle or dispose of packaging responsibly,” he says. “This information can be included at checkout, in product inserts, or post-sales communication emails. It might also be worthwhile making this available and clear on-site as a differentiator for brands.” june 2021 | boutique. | 37


DOWN TO BUSINESS

“Our goal is to ‘make two days better’ for each of our customers: the day they buy and the day they have to claim” DaviD EcclEs is chiEf ExEcutivE officEr at ExprEssion insurancE What’s the story behind the launch of Expression Insurance?

Firstly, and most importantly, we love independent shops and restaurants. Our team ranges from twentysomethings to sixty-somethings and each of us has our favourite places to shop and eat - all the ones we love are independent. Why? Because of the expertise, commitment and personality that their owners bring to each business. So much so, that this was the inspiration for our name – our customers’ businesses are expressions of their personalities. And then there’s our background – three of us in the team founded and built a company that insured charities and community groups. We really enjoyed working and innovating on their behalf, and they enjoyed the service we provided – it insures over 20,000 organisations as we speak - so when it came to starting our next venture, independent shops and restaurants was a small step to take.

You’re a relatively new company - why did you decide to launch in the middle of a pandemic?

We did delay our opening in the height of the first lockdown, but then watched as shops switched to online trading, kept in touch with their customers in new ways, or battened down the hatches ready to return. We recognised there was still a role for insurance – covering stock and staff who may be working on new tasks so decided it was time to get going. We also wondered if the savings that we hope to bring, and service that we offer, might be appreciated now more than ever – so far it seems that this is the case! 38 | boutique. | JunE 2021

What do you offer independent fashion retailers in terms of insurance cover and services?

Our goal is to ‘make two days better’ for each of our customers: the day they buy and the day they have to claim. To do this, we offer specialist cover - we only insure independent shops and restaurants – so we bring the reassurance that comes with that. And our policies are underwritten by one of the most secure companies in the world. We also provide a great claims service that cares about and understands small businesses run by skilled people based in Leeds. Plus, we make it easy. We know that no one likes to spend time buying insurance, and that most people find it an unsatisfying and confusing experience. Buying from us is totally, 100 per cent different – you can come online and get a quote in one minute. And our friendly team is on standby for customers who have questions.

What makes Expression different from other insurers?

We can’t comment on what other insurers are up to, we focus our time and energy on our customers. We can say that ‘making two days better’ is core to our difference, and that we aim to bring a smile to customers’ faces in innovative new ways. For example, we offer substantial discounts to shops that have great customer reviews, interest-free monthly payments are automatic, as is cover for local events. We’re also building a community. We know our customers are busy, so it’s easy to be part of and we have some fun ideas up our sleeve!

How competitive are your prices?

We hope we can save you money that’s our goal. We know that few businesses will buy from us if we don’t save them money each year, though some are happy to pay more for service and certainty. It will take less than two minutes to find out if we can save you money – just Google Expression Insurance. To find out more, visit expressioninsurance.co.uk



PROMOTION

Fall in love

Danish label by basics/ OWn is reinventing the buying seasOn With its refreshing year-rOunD shOrt OrDer mODel

F

orward ordering on high quality fashion collections has been an established practice in the boutique supply chain for years. But the rush to book orders in a limited buying season before collections close their books has been an ongoing challenge for many boutique owners – especially in these turbulent times. Thankfully, there is an alternative. Danish brand by basics/ OWN offers short order, constant supply quality products and the company has the imagination and demonstrative ability to reinvent the supply chain dynamics in-line with emerging market demand. So, could established practice potentially change forever for fashion indies? Buyers can expect high quality, bespoke orders in a world of colours from by basics delivered four weeks from order and OWN in current month plus six weeks. With Danish and European production, no minimum order requirements or duty, the brand’s products are also available to order online at any time and day of the year. CONTACT: E: pg@bybasics.com bybasics.com

SIMPLY GORGEOUS JEWELLERY AND SCARVES

BRITISH TRAVELGOODS AND ACCESSORIES ASSOCIATION

Buy online at missmilly.co.uk or call: 01905 622 509 40 | boutique. | June 2021


Spring collection and digital catalogue are available on our website

Spring collection and digital catalogue are available on our website

www.dantejewellery.co.uk www.dantejewellery.co.uk

T: 01260 226 588

Telephone 01260 226 588

Email: info@dantejewellery.co.uk

Email : Info@dantejewellery.co.uk

No minimum for online orders and no-quibble returns policy if an

No minimum for online orders and no-quibble returns policy if an item is not item is not what you expected via our Freepost address what you expected via our Freepost address


BUSINESS SENSE FOR FASHION RETAILERS

We are now booking for New Season Campaigns Boutique offers tailored multi platform options which cover, print, editorial, digital and social media all allowing your collections maximum exposure throughout the season.

Please contact the team for us to discuss your thought for the season ahead and how we can help you... T: 01795 515288 / 07960 797383 E: julie@bpmedialtd.co.uk | cath@bpmedialtd.co.uk @boutiquemag @boutiquemaguk

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Shop Talk

Industry opInIon

Open for business

donnA nICHoL, Founder oF CHLoe jAMes LIFestyLe

W

e meet Chloe James Lifestyle founder Donna Nichol to find out how she’s steered her business through a turbulent year… june 2021 | boutique. | 43


SHOP TALK

Taking stock

Chloe james lifestyle has triumphed in the faCe of adversity during the national loCkdowns. gemma ward meets owner donna niChol to find out how

T

he pandemic has been a challenging time for independent fashion retailers. For Donna Nichol, founder of 10-year-old St Albans boutique Chloe James Lifestyle, it threatened to destroy her entire business. But with years of retail experience, a solid customer base and a lot of tenacity, she managed to overcome every lockdown by strengthening her online offering. “I feel like you could throw anything at me now and I’d overcome it,” she says. “When I looked at our year-end figures, I realised that we’d done more or less the same sales as we achieved the year before. That’s pretty amazing considering that the shop was closed for more than half of the year.” Before the coronavirus outbreak, Chloe James Lifestyle was a bricks-and-mortar retailer with an e-commerce business on the side. Today its operation is much more evenly split, with customers using both the website and physical shop to purchase its carefully curated womenswear and homeware products.

Independent women

Having launched in 2010 in the pretty commuter town of St Albans, the two-storey boutique – set inside an old Tudor house – is located in an affluent area flanked by other indies. Nichol has years of experience in fashion buying, having worked for high street stalwarts such as Miss Selfridge and Oasis. But after having children and moving away from London, she saw potential for a local shop that sold clothes she wanted to buy: “There weren’t many great shops in St Albans 44 | boutique. | june 2021

10 years ago, so I knew a boutique selling beautiful quality products would do well,” she says. At first Chloe James Lifestyle – named after Nichol’s children - sold a selection of interiors, gifts and jewellery, but the owner says fashion quickly became its strongest category. Its core labels are Soaked in Luxury and B Young, which it has stocked from the very beginning. Meanwhile, it also carries the likes of Sofie Schnoor, Mos Mosh, Culture, Grace and Mila

and Parisian label FRNCH. “We stock collections that are high quality but still affordable,” says Nichol. “We often get women coming into the shop who say they popped in because it looks so inviting but didn’t think they could afford to buy anything. They’re often surprised to find that our prices are reasonable.” Prices at Chloe James Lifestyle are varied, with dresses starting from £65 and tops from £40. It also sells homewares such as candles and trinket dishes from as little as £5


SHOP TALK each. Nichol says she began selling the shop’s products online practically from the beginning: “We launched in 2011 and the website has seen several reincarnations over time,” she says. “But before the pandemic it had always been just a tiny part of the business. Always transactional, but a drop in the ocean compared to the physical shop.”

Online boom

So, when the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, Nichol says she was devastated and unsure if her mostly bricks-and-mortar business could survive. However, after taking a week to step back and regroup, she began to upload photos and videos of the store’s most promising products onto its social media channels: “The response was amazing,” she says. “Customers told us that they wanted to see positivity on social media and lovely things to keep them going, so that’s what we aimed to do.” Following the new lockdown strategy, Nichol says the boutique’s online sales figures went through the roof: “During the first lockdown our e-commerce business was up by +800 to +1,000 per cent,” she says. “It was phenomenal and really kept us going during that time.” The owner supplemented the store’s own e-commerce sales by partnering with low commission online marketplace downyourhighstreet. com. The free-to-join site allows indies to market their products to its customers – charging the retailer a small percentage of the total of each transaction. Chloe James Lifestyle has used the site since it first launched in 2014 and says it has been an easy way to boost its online sales. It also meant the boutique had another revenue stream during the lockdowns when its bricks-and-mortar store was closed. “It’s really easy to use and we need it to be because we’re such a small team,” says Nichol. “Everything is synced with our site so there aren’t any cross overs with what we sell. We saw lots of extra sales coming in during the lockdowns, so it’s been worthwhile for the business.”

Over the past year Nichol says she’s changed the shop’s stock to reflect changing demand while keeping it inline with the store’s typical aesthetic. She bought into loungewear at the start of the pandemic, with “luxe trackies” and “comfy clothes” selling well online. The boutique also pushed “Zoom call tops” for those customers who found themselves newly working from home. When the shop was finally allowed to reopen this April, the owner says her customers’ optimism was palpable: “Now people want to buy pretty summer dresses and frilly tops because they are really excited and can’t wait to go out,” she says. “They also want to treat themselves after spending so long at home and not spending any money. It’s been lovely to see and there’s such a great buzz in the boutique.” Online sales naturally dropped

slightly during the first few weeks of reopening as more customers opted to visit physical stores. However, Nichol says e-commerce revenue has started to gradually increase again as june 2021 | boutique. | 45


SHOP TALK

people are mixing bricks-and-mortar shopping with online. “I think we’re all now appreciating the smaller things we perhaps took for granted before,” she says. “Little guys like us are the ones who’ve found innovative ways to keep going. We’ve stayed connected with our customers throughout the lockdowns and customers want to see us thrive. They’ve realised how important we are to the local community – we’re not just a place to buy things but somewhere to go for advice, to chat and to buy presents their friends will love.”

Future forecasting

As part of Nichol’s new strategy for the post-pandemic world, she has invested in a new website design that reflects the business’s ethos and independent feel. The idea for the new site emerged during the first lockdown when she saw that sales were increasing. The owner says she realised that it needed to deliver an experience that reflected the physical shop – which is a difficult task when your business is a quirky and independent boutique: “It’s so hard online because there are so many so-called design rules to follow, but if you’re not careful your site can end up looking soulless,” she explains. “What I wanted was a site that looked and felt like the Chloe James Lifestyle boutique but still functioned well online.” To strike the right balance, its 46 | boutique. | june 2021

designer used an image of the print from the shop’s feature wallpaper for the site’s landing page. There are also unique areas such as “Donna’s picks” where shoppers can experience a personal service that echoes a similar feeling as the bricks-and-mortar boutique. “Long-term we will also include more videos of us talking about different brands and trends,” says Nichol. “We have a lot of this on social media already so it will be a case of linking these with the site.” But for now, the owner is looking forward to being able to visit showrooms and trade shows again when they reopen this summer. “I’m a confident buyer – it’s my background – but trying to make selections over Zoom just isn’t the same,” she says. “I’ll be forever thankful that we had it as an option during the lockdowns but buying online can never compare to the thrill of going to a showroom and seeing a collection in the flesh. I can’t wait to get back out there again.”


Loyalty pointers

PROMOTION

Win those all-important repeat purchases With citrus lime’s customer reWards

R

eturning customers is every boutique owner’s dream. But getting them to come back to your store time and time again is another thing entirely. A loyalty scheme can help indies attract repeat custom because it gives shoppers a reason to revisit your store. Citrus-Lime’s loyalty scheme Customer Rewards comes fully integrated within its EPoS system, Cloud POS. This means that you can offer rewards on both in-store and online purchases so your customers benefit every time they buy from you.

How it works With each purchase through Customer Rewards, shoppers earn points. The points equate to money off their

next purchase and customers start collecting points from the very first time they shop with you. If they prefer, customers can keep hold of their points to put towards that bigger shopping spree. Because you’re in control of setting the rate at which customers earn points, you can maintain your margins and reduce discounting stock. You can also set how long your store’s loyalty points remain valid for.

Keep in touch with customers Customer Rewards allows you to send automated emails to let customers know how many points they’ve earned after each purchase. You can also send monthly statements outlining their points balance.

Keep your customers loyal With money off their next shop, customers are more incentivised to revisit your store. In essence, Customer Rewards encourages all-important repeat transactions so you can build on your relationships with customers. For more information, visit citruslime.com

New from Boutique Boutique Social Media Masterplan and guide Created xclusively or ndependent etailers… If you would like more information please email julie@bpmedialtd.co.uk june 2021 | boutique. | 47


SHOP TALK

“Indies have a personality and connection with their local communities that cannot be matched by the larger chains” Hari KrisHNadasaN, Md at Capri ClotHiNg, disCUssEs tHE advaNtagEs of bEiNg iNdEpENdENt as loCKdowN rEstriCtioNs EasE

“W

ith more people shopping locally and craving the very antithesis of chain stores, it is predicted that we will see a flood of independent brands and stores grasping to fill this gap in the market. The British high street has seen many old oaks fall over and die recently, which has allowed the light to shine through into the market - making it boom time for new independents to open. “Since March 2020, the number of indie owners I’ve spoken to who have not only survived but thrived during the pandemic is astonishing, proving how much better the leaner and more flexible independent businesses weathered the pandemic. Indies have a personality and connection with their local communities that cannot be matched by the larger chains. The changing landscape has resulted in a resurgence of people shopping locally and caring more about their local economy. Shopping away from the large city centres is happening throughout the UK, including London, as the boroughs have prospered at the expense of those shops in the centre or near high volume commuter stations. “A lot of people are going back to the office this year but for many, that will probably only be for three days 48 | boutique. | JUNE 2021

a week. This will cause significant impact. City centres lose 20 per cent of footfall for every day we work from home. This traffic is now local to

where the workers live, who still want to buy their lunch, stamps, dinner and wine (in no particular order) but are spending the same money nearer to home.

“Having some stores locally that can bring together interesting products and, in some cases, from local producers is really powerful. We’ve had a year of ‘buy local’ messages and people really do want to spend more money near to home. “The adaptability of independents allows them to change tactics much quicker compared to those stores whose metrics are measured by growth targets and duty to their shareholders. Almost all indie owners I’ve spoken with over the past year have embraced digital, updating their Google listings, Facebook, twitter, Instagram and utilising the free support and grants available from the government. By helping them digitally, it has increased awareness of the physical place to draw shoppers in. “These independent businesses are realising they still need online and social media to drive people to their physical stores. It’s very much stronger together. Retailers today need to do more than simply ‘exist.’ And while boutiques probably won’t be able to match online on price, they can compete on originality, convenience, service and - most importantly - that personal touch.”



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