Drapers probes leading independents to get their View From the Shop Floor.
How is trade at the moment?
It’s good, it’s been brisk lately. Profits are up by 35% on last year. Meka is a fairly new store – we’ve only been open for three years – but we already feel quite well established. Our customers are very choosy, but they trust us and this is reflected in our sales figures.
What challenges are you facing at the moment?
The weather. It’s been so changeable and if it isn’t bright and sunny outside our customers don’t want to come in and buy summer dresses.
Which brands are selling well at the moment and why?
Great Plains is doing well. Our small European brands are doing well too, in particular the Danish brands. People appreciate coming in to a small boutique for a more personal service with original pieces. Our customers are prepared to pay more for originality.
Are you doing anything special to drive sales in these tough times?
Not really. We haven’t needed to and it’s not really in keeping with our ethos. We have an in-store fashion show at the beginning of each season. We’re refusing to do mid-season Sales. We feel it cheapens the brands.
Are you visiting any trade shows for spring 10?
We’ll be going to Pure London along with the rest of the world, just because it’s convenient and it has some of the brands we stock. We’ll possibly do some of the Paris shows too, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the euro before I make a definite decision.
What will you be looking for in terms of product?
Established brands. Avoka, Great Plains, and designers that other people don’t have.
Will you be looking to introduce any new brands this next year?
Definitely, we always do. It keeps interest up but we haven’t made any final decisions on those yet.
How are your online sales?
Fantastic, we only launched the website six months ago and we’ve had incredible interest already. We find it supports the shop by keeping up awareness on a larger scale and driving people to visit the shop as well as purchase online.
Melita Glaister is co-owner of womenswear boutique Meka in Alresford, Hampshire
Brands include: Avoca, Great Plains, Karen Cole, Oui Moments, Karen Cole, Spoom