Deryane Tadd is the owner of womenswear boutique The Dressing Room in St Albans and a member of the Fashion Association of Britain (FAB).
It’s been a big year for us at The Dressing Room so far. After nine years of trading, we’ve had a major revamp of our store in St Albans and have also relaunched our website. We were a much smaller store when we started out and were much more of a boutique business, with no web platform.
The branding and the logo we had suited the environment but we have devolved a lot since then. Nine years on, we operate in a much bigger store and have a very active website. It’s a question of moving with the times and we wanted to make sure we didn’t look stale.
I always aim to be ahead of the pack. During the rebranding process we became the first womenswear independent in the country to have a fully responsive design website. We really put the investment in there as I feel it’s important to keep things fresh and ensure that, hard as it might be, the online platform reflects the shopping experience in store.
Even though we cannot feature all our styles online, we aim to make the website as good a representation of what we do in store. We have more brands in the shop than we do online, but we try to upload about 30 to 80 products each week. Our biggest brands automatically go online and we buy those in higher volume, but then we put some of our niche brands on the site as well to give it a personal feel. It’s not easy, but it’s possible to strive towards synchronising the two platforms. It is things like this that give your business an edge when entering industry awards.
I decided to enter The Drapers Awards a year and a half after we first opened. It was just a case of thinking, ‘Let’s tell people who we are and get our name out there’, and it really does work. I believe that entering industry awards cements your reputation among suppliers and peers. I think that if you’re passionate about what you do then there is every reason to tell people about your business and put yourself out there. It’s not always about having to win, but rather about being in the same category as people and peers who you admire. A key skill in retailing is undeniably the ability for self-promotion. People won’t hunt you out, so you do need to be proud of what you do and make yourself known.