My sister Joni Free and I opened our boutique four years ago, and every buying season since has brought us feelings of excitement coupled with an enthusiasm that refuses to subside, regardless of the economic climate.
For me there is nothing quite like the rush felt at the first glance of a collection as we enter the showroom, the burst of the season’s chosen colours and then being taken through what inspired the designers.
As we hand-pick what we feel are the best pieces for our customers and which represent each label in its best light, I feel privileged to be a part of the industry. Our latest buying trip contained all these ingredients and excitement, albeit with a smaller budget and more focused decisions. At Pure London, we were more judgemental than in past seasons and only bought into those labels that we felt completely confident would work and whose designs clearly shone through.
As an independent boutique operating in these unstable times, we are more aware than ever just how important it is to celebrate our individuality compared to the high street. To do just that, we’ve sourced further afield this season and taken on two LA-based labels and two stunning Danish designer brands, together with a few celebrity-favourite short-order labels. We’ve changed direction slightly to suit our customers, some of whom a year ago wouldn’t have thought twice about purchasing that traffic-stopper of a piece but now look for something more classic, easy to wear and adaptable.
This latest buying trip was one of the most refreshing and successful I’ve experienced to date. I returned feeling more enthusiastic than ever about the future of our own business and independents on the whole.
- Katie Free is co-owner of womenswear boutique Free Love in St Peter Port, Guernsey