Talking SHOP Katayoun Jones is the owner of womenswear independent Damsel Boutique in Chiswick, west London
This season has been a great spring/summer for us, in no small part because of the fantastic weather we have been having.
Looking back at 2013, the weather didn’t really start to get warm until May, and we had to go on Sale mid-June because everyone else did - if we are not on Sale when the larger stores are, nobody buys from us. That essentially gave us six weeks to sell a whole season. Our Sale rail was fabulous.
This spring, we ordered far more cautiously, the weather warmed up in March and we have been rewarded with a great sell-through for summer.
Unfortunately, the knock-on effect of ordering less stock and selling it all is that we are now running low on product. Having to forward order six months ahead makes it virtually impossible to react quickly to changes in the weather.
Our autumn 14 deliveries have just started trickling in, and it’s not always appropriate clothing for the time of year. This - coupled with a very poor Sale rail - means we are struggling to maintain cash flow. We’ve tried to get stock from some of our suppliers, but there is not much available. Fashion is completely out of sync with the climate.
There is no point in spring collections being delivered in January when nobody can wear the product until April. As retailers, we end up having to pay for stock long before we can sell it. Our customers are not buying their winter coats in August or their summer maxis in February. A few labels we work with offer monthly deliveries, which allow us to tailor our offering between the main seasons, but it’s not enough.
If spring ranges were delivered from March to August, and then autumn drops started from late September through to November, I feel it would be far more relevant and result in better profits for all concerned.
We have noticed that more labels seem to be offering pre-collections, which is definitely a step in the right direction. As a small independent retailer, little and often is ideal.