The Atelier-To-Go founder tells Ian Wright about the soon-to-be launched ecommerce site, what makes it different and how she sources.
Atelier-To-Go, your new ecommerce site, officially launches on March 14. Why did you set it up?
I felt there was a gap in the market that wasn’t being filled: neither super high-end, intimidating, designer-led fashion nor trendy, teenage fashion, but also presenting the whole online shopping experience in an inclusive, friendly and engaging way. What makes Atelier different principally is its editorial voice and tone, and everything else follows on from that - we aim to look glossy but to be accessible.
Service is so important for ecommerce fashion sites - what in particular are you doing to make Atelier-To-Go the easiest site to use?
As a new player, we have to think outside the box and think what as customers we would want to make the service personal and bespoke. So this ranges from Shutl, a two-hour express delivery service, which we will launch for customers in London for our curated collections to start with, to My Atelier Treats, where customers can collect points towards beautiful ribboned surprises.
How do you source the brands you want to stock?
I’d like to say it is done in a very clinical way and that we work to a very defined and scientific matrix. But quite often it is that intangible, but so important, ‘ooooh’ factor: finding something that makes you smile at how utterly lovely it is, from the cut or the colour, or little details like coloured glass buttons.
Which trade shows do you attend?
Other than Scoop, which we attend for inspiration, we generally approach or get approached directly.
Are you open to brands approaching you?
Absolutely. We tend towards international brands that look great editorially but are also eminently wearable.
If you could stock any label, past or present, on Atelier-To-Go, what would it be?
From the 1980s Body Map, from the 1990s Hussein Chalayan, from the 2000s Luella and for the present, all the lovely ones we have.
Have you always worked in fashion?
No. I started out in fashion as a model with Select at 17, segued into TV, magazines and other offline media for most of my career, and have now gone full circle.
Where do you love to shop?
I’m pretty democratic in my tastes, from high street to high end and everything in between. I like to mix things up so I’ll put together trend-led pieces from Zara with simple J Brand skinnies, or a vintage Paul & Joe black silk blouse offset with a Cartier man’s watch.
What trend do you wish would disappear?
Hooker shoes (as I call them): big platforms or shoes with weird things hanging off them. I can’t stand the whole trend.
Which brands are you most excited about for AW13?
I’m afraid it’s all a bit under wraps at the moment, as we are looking at some great exclusive brands for AW13 and really want to push the envelope a bit as we develop!
How many brands will be the optimum amount for Atelier ?
We currently have around fifty or so brands and I would say somewhere between that and one hundred. We want to give our brands a real voice and a presence on the site and to carefully curate what we have.
What are the criteria for the ‘spotlight brands’?
Our spotlight brands are our curated collections of which there are five for SS13 - Paper London, Rebecca Minkoff, Halston Heritage, Lara Bohnic and L’Agence. All the clothes are beautifully made with real love, care and attention to detail plus we aimed for a grown up, glossy feel. Our inspiration was the heiresses and socialites of the 1960s and 1970s, Palm Springs and St Tropez - languid and elegant and effortlessly stylish.
Tell us more about how you’ll be working with London boutiques?
We carefully choose who we partner with that we feel shares not only our brand ethos but also personalised approach to customer service and sheer love of fashion. They are also great at buying and picking brilliant pieces season after season. We then pick what we feel will sit beautifully on the site and work in terms of the brand mix, then editorialise it.
How does the ‘Fashion File’ work?
It’s really just a fun - and I hope useful - add on to the main site. We cater to women who don’t have vast amount of time to spend browsing so the idea being they could not only personalise their picks by size, shape, designer and so on but have a lovely place where they can use it as an online filing system for their fashion picks and favourite finds.
How will the editorial content interact with the retail?
The editorial content is both stand-alone - as in you can read the magazine content or watch the videos - but you can also shop through them using our hotspot technology. We are working on special ways to develop this even further after we launch.
If you weren’t working in fashion what would you be doing?
Probably still working in television or magazines I guess - prior to Atelier I co-founded a luxury brand focused TV commercials company.
Who would play you in the movie of your own life?
And what would the soundtrack be?
Sad to say but anything with a house beat - or New Order! I’m an old skool jazz funk / Northern Soul / Handbag House girl at heart.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My Father was a Deputy Head before he retired and always told me just to try my best, which I think is a good mantra for life. Also, my first ever boss after university told me “Bring me solutions, not problems”, something I’ve always tried to apply to my work life, and life in general!