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‘It’s nearly impossible to compete with the big websites’

Janine Okeefe, Owner of premium womenswear indie Okeefe in Esher, Surrey.

The new season is arriving, which is always exciting and this autumn a bit nerve-wracking, as we have radically changed our brand mix by dropping some of the big international labels.

We carried out a detailed customer survey in the spring, which was invaluable for us to move the business forward and make sure we are going in the right direction.

The most important feedback was that our customers love coming to a real store. They know our team and come in to buy, not to be sold to. They value the fact I buy with them in mind and I regularly introduce new brands that are not widely available or promoted. We make our customers feel special.

Despite having invested time and money in our website over the past few years, we’ve found it a hard business to flourish in. It’s nearly impossible to compete with the big established websites that offer such an incredible service and experience; therefore big brands are not for us online.

Our website is a window to our loyal and growing client base, offering them exclusive collections alongside a genuine customer service. We’ll continue to invest in our online business but we are focusing on new strategies and look forward to seeing the response.

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