AW 11 · The Dressing Room

The Dressing Room

I think every woman dreams about a walk in wardrobe. The place you can go when you’re feeling down and start putting on your favourite shoes, play with your handbags and collection of jewellery and it instantly makes you feel better. Unfortunately not everyone can afford this, but I can tell you visiting The Dressing Room is next best thing.
This one-of boutique in St. Albans (Hertfordshire) set up by retail expert Deryane Tadd in 2005 has gone from strengh to strengh since its opening, winning awards and gaining great reputation. Not only you can try on and buy amazing selection of clothes, shoes and accessories, the knowledgable staff is there to help you should you need it. They really look after their customers and hold regular events, where you can find out what’s in for the next season and more.
Lovely Deryane, who’s shop has been nominated for Drapers Awards for the third time (winning twice previously) has agreed to answer some questions about secret of her success and what to expect for autumn winter. Read on and let me know if you need any aditional information about the store. Bellow are pictures to show you what great place it is 🙂
Have a stylish day.

First of all congratulations on being shortlisted for Womenswear retailer of the year at Drapers Awards, prize you won twice before. What’s the secret of your continuous success?

Thank you! I am thrilled that we have made the shortlist again! I believe that the dressing room is successful because I put my heart and sole into the business and the whole team is passionate about what we do. We work hard to keep things fresh and exciting for our customer base.

The Dressing Room is totally focussed on providing an exceptional store environment with an outstanding team delivering product picked specifically with our core customer in mind.
Each team member is a trained stylist and will offer as much or as little assistance as the cu
stomer requires. We achieve this by a strong staff training programme focussing on who our different types of customer are, what they require and how best to meet their needs. The result is a laid back, friendly and professional environment encouraging people to shop in the way in which they feel comfortable with product chosen for them.
Our customers return time and again as we keep the store fresh and current with constant newness and events throughout the season, tailored to our customers needs following regular customer feedback surveys.

What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? People who might be thinking about opening boutique like yours?

I am often asked if I will mentor people that are thinking about setting up their own store. My first question is always: ‘Have you ever worked in retail before?’ If the answer is yes, then wonderful – you know what to expect! If the answer is no, my first piece of advice is always ‘Go and work in a store for a year, then come back to me and tell me if you still want to do this.’ Working in retail is a fabulous career, but it is no easy ride. You have to be prepared for long hours and 7 day weeks.

The next question ‘Who are you buying for?’

You have to know your customer inside out and the first two seasons are often a bit hit and miss while you discover who your customer really is as opposed to who you thought they were. Remember, you can’t please everyone, so stick to your key principles and adapt your buying as you learn more about who you customer is and make sure you deliver this promise at all times.

Last Sunday you held your AW event introducing the trends for upcoming season. What are the biggest trends you’ll be selling?

The main trends that the Dressing Room is selling this season are: Colour, Ladylike, Shearling & Faux Fur, 1970’s. We believe in working with people’s style rather than dressing head to toe in trends. You can always look current with just a few changes to your existing wardrobe by adding certain colours, styles and accessories.

Has there already been a big hit with the customers? What have they been buying the most?

Our customers are really embracing the jewel colour tones this season mixed with Camel tones, they are also loving Shearling and Faux Fur on jackets, boots and shoes. People love to buy into the Autumn collections early, often stocking up on knits and coats early so that they don’t miss out.

You’ve just been to Paris on buying appointments. What can we expect in the near future at The Dressing Room. Any new brands?

Every season we introduce new brands to keep the product mix fresh and exciting – people love to learn about what we have found on our travels. For the future we are looking for more niche brands that have a point of difference, but I can’t reveal which brands they are yet – you’ll have to come and see us for Spring 12!

What’s next for you and The Dressing Room?

Our ecommerce business is really taking off and this is where we are putting our resources for the future. You can expect to see us gain a larger presence in the online marketplace. As for in store, we will continue to bring fresh and exciting product to our customers and continue to evolve and grow with the times. One thing is for sure, we will never just stand still.

Thank you for finding the time to answer my questions and good luck with the Drapers Awards.

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