Great retailing has a knack of looking oh-so-effortless: a well dressed window, a pleasing welcome and a glossy carrier bag. Job done, surely? Er, wrong.
Fashion retailing is a fiercely competitive space and those who rise to the top really understand their customer; develop strong supplier and influencer relationships; train and nurture their staff and continuously adapt, never standing still. Oh and there's most likely an inspiring leader at the helm. Bring all that together, work your socks off and you're onto something.
To see this in action you only need to visit The Dressing Room, the multi-award winning, multi-channel independent fashion retailer, owned and run by Deryane Tadd. In the week that Deryane celebrated her company's 12th birthday it was a thrill to be invited to the British Brands Blogger Brunch to meet new and established British designers showcasing their AW17 collections, gorge on (sorry, sample) Gails Bakery bakes and mingle in the company of fellow bloggers retrochicmama;notesbyastylist; thestylenurse; style_mum and katejoneslondon. I mean SRSLY, could all Tuesday mornings start this way please?
Deryane opened with a welcome chat, referencing the birthday week and commenting "we are an independent with big reach". "What's successful about our business is us, you are nothing without a great team". Adding that she is often asked about opening a second store "the website is our next store". "Our focus is bringing personalisation to our customers whether in store or online, through our Style Me complimentary service and our personal shopper service". Some of the many complimentary consultations include: core classics; new seasons lines; occasion wear; wardrobe updating as well as at home wardrobe consultations. For many customers this tailored service is what keeps them coming back. I grabbed an elderflower cordial (served in a jam jar) and went off to see what's in store for AW17.
Rixo London take the oriental route with the launch of their Shanghai Chic collection, expect kimono style hand embroidered dresses; neck ties; high side slits and vivid rich colours. I predict 'Cindy' and 'Chrissy' to cause a stir. Co-designer Henrietta Rix chatted to me about her love of charity shop finds - good girl HR! Lily and Lionel showcased their constellation print, an intergalactic jump from their Moon and Star print and one the fash pack will fall for, together with their signature leopard print, next season in earthy burgundy, they continue to nail the 70s vibe. The metallic leathers at footwear designers Hudson London with a slight androgynous nod caught my eye, as did their Mod inspired Chelsea boots and Western inspired, mid heel shapes. Mercy Delta showed a beautiful collection of hand printed silk blouses, I spotted swans, bicycles, stars and animal print and great to see vivid pink running through for AW. I'm a huge fan of Rachel Jackson London who manages to fuse cool with wearability and seeing her AW collection I'm reminded of the quality of her fine metal work, her Electric Goddess collection was calling me. Brave Lotus showed their bohemian collection mixing semi precious stones, golds and silvers, perfect for layering up and dreaming of far away travels.
Autumn could you be please hurry up.
Wearing: H&M ruffle pinstripe shirt; vintage cotton skirt; ASOS pink metallic flats; 'Caroline' necklace (holiday souvenir shop find); New Look leather money pouch necklace; vintage cream clip-on earrings; Rachel Jackson London 'C' and 'J' initial rings; wood and star bangle, knickers model's own.