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Q&A: Katie Canvin, owner of indie Austique

As premium London womenswear indie Austique gears up to open its third store in June, Drapers chats to owner Katie Canvin about the new store and the retailer’s plans.

Q: Why did you decide on Notting Hill for your third store?

A: We already have stores in Chelsea and Marylebone so we felt Notting Hill would be a natural fit for us. The store is on a great location on Ledbury Road near a Diane Von Fustenburg and a Matches store so it is in exactly the right area to attract the sort of customers we are targeting. Also, the shopper there is very similar to the shopper who visits our Chelsea store, so we will have a good understanding of what they want.

Q: How will it differ from your existing stores?

A: We want to offer something different that people can’t get elsewhere and that becomes even more important when we are next door to Matches. We will be selling some of the same brands that we carry in our other two stores such as Goldsign and Markus Lupfer but we will also be introducing new brands such as beachwear label Poupette and jewellery brand Jacqui Aiche.

Q: Will you also be selling your Austique own label and how is that performing for you now?

A: Our Austique own brand accounts for about 25% of our product mix across all our stores and it will be the same in the new store too. We launched the own label in 2008 as a way to ensure better margins and we now wholesale it to some great stores such as Cricket in Liverpool and Harvey Nichols internationally. Our underwear line Cheek Frills is now stocked in Selfridges in London and Brown Thomas in Dublin.

Q: Do you plan to open any more stores?

A: We would never say never but at the moment we are focusing all our energy on opening the Notting Hill store and putting everything into that. I think for now, the three stores in the locations that we have got, plus our website and our own label, gives us enough to be focusing on.

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