Denise Green is womenswear buyer at Jarrold independent department store in Norwich and a member of the Fashion Association of Britain (FAB)
As an independent retailer in the heart of the vibrant city of Norwich, we were proud to be a finalist in the Department Store of the Year category at the prestigious Drapers Independents Awards.
Within our catchment area we have all the leading multiple department stores such as John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams. It is therefore a really important aspect of my role as womenswear and lingerie buyer to ensure we have a different, yet commercial mix for our diverse range of customers. Our aim is to have directional and unknown collections to excite and create theatre, as well as key brands who value our customer care and keep us exclusive in Norwich, including Weekend MaxMara, Boss Orange and Maison Scotch.
To achieve our independent boutique feel we attend all the major UK shows including Scoop International, Pure London and Moda, as well as travelling further afield to CIFF in Copenhagen or Who’s Next in Paris. Support and commitment from our suppliers to help drive sales is essential today. Competition has increased and online Sales give the pressure to discount, which we try to avoid during the season. The Drapers biannual show calendar is very helpful and allows us to see the suitability of the shows and plan in advance.
Autumn 14 has started well in store with the wonderful colour palette and an early nip in the air prompting early sales of wool coats and knitwear. Spring 15 has been a joy to buy as the colours, skirt lengths and updated styling have been introduced by most suppliers. There has also been an awareness to keep prices reasonable, which for those of us who have to compete against own-label product ensures we have entry price points but offering only the best quality.
Our directors are keen that we keep surprising our customers with new but suitable brands and this year at Scoop I picked up Bitte Kai Rand, which offered colourful, fun merchandise suited to a wide range of customers.