Atterley relaunched as an ecommerce platform for womenswear boutiques last week, gaining praise from its “founding partners” as a potential “champion of independents”.
The site soft launched with more than 10,000 products, and features independent retailers such as Donna Ida in London’s Chelsea, five-store London-based Question Air, Biscuit in Edinburgh, Glebe in Falkirk, Stanwells in Bournemouth and Lymington, Nola in Brighton and Young Ideas in Ashbourne.
“We are very excited to be a founding partner of Atterley,” Anne Wright, owner of Young Ideas, told Drapers, explaining that the site will allow the business to reach customers outside its usual geographical sphere.
“From a business point of view it enables us to offer an online shopping platform without the enormous costs of setting up, maintaining and marketing a transactional website, which is a real challenge to independent retailers like ourselves.”
Arabella Brown, owner of Marianna Boutique in Ipswich, said: “The people behind Atterley are really what attracted me – they are so passionate about what they’re doing.
“We all want to shop locally, which is why we are here, so anything that can draw more attention to [independent] retailers like us is great.”
Jo Davies, owner and managing director of Black White Denim in Wilmslow, Cheshire, said: “It is nice to be part of something that unites similar businesses facing similar problems as a community.
“So far it feels like they have got the right mix of retailers and the soft launch is good to make sure they can sort out any inevitable glitches. I hope they will become the champion of independents.”
Michael Welch, founder of online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com, bought the intellectual assets of Atterley after it went into administration through his investment vehicle, The Welch Group, in February.
Blackcircles, which was sold to Michelin for £50m last May, operates as an ecommerce platform for independent garages. Welch hopes to replicate the formula for fashion, with Sarah Murray, owner of Edinburgh womenswear independent Jane Davidson, as an adviser to bring “the conscience of the boutique” to the firm’s strategy.
The new platform uses the old Atterley’s database of around 250,000 registered users, more than 10,000 Instagram followers and around 25,000 followers on Facebook.
“Despite the anticipated handful of user bugs we have managed to quickly iron out a fully trading retail platform with over 10,000 products listed,” said Nick Freer, CMO of Atterley, on the launch of the beta site.
“Within the first 24 hours we have taken UK and country-to-country orders, so our technology has been tested live across our logistics and boutique systems seamlessly.
“We have taken more than 300 enquiries from UK boutiques and a further 230 from international boutiques. We will be on-boarding our new partners as soon as we are happy our site is optimised for customers. We expect a few more important user changes over the coming weeks.”