Women’s accessories brand Paul’s Boutique is embarking on an ambitious expansion plan in the UK, seeking 10 times as many independent stockists as it has now.
Managing director Daniel Morris said the brand has completed phase one of its repositioning, which saw it redesign the entire accessories range, drop its clothing line and pull out of young fashion stockists, such as Bank. Morris put this in motion when he joined the company in June 2013, in an attempt to move the brand more upmarket.
The business is now turning to phase two, which will see it attempt to penetrate between 50 and 70 premium independent retailers in the UK by the end of 2016.
If this phase proves successful, the brand could look to reintroduce its clothing line. Paul’s Boutique stopped selling clothing 18 months ago, but Morris said he would review this in the near future: “For me, the definition of success will be when we do clothing again and people buy it not because of the name, but because of the quality and design.”
Paul’s Boutique is currently stocked in five independent retailers and department stores in the UK – AB10 in Aberdeen, Daniel in Windsor, Elys in Wimbledon, Bentalls in Kingston and Elizabeth May Boutique in St Andrews – in addition to its concessions in John Lewis (York, Nottingham and Canary Wharf) and Topshop Oxford Street. It will go into the John Lewis in Westfield Stratford at the end of October.
It also has a pop-up store at Westfield London, which is due to run until January. Morris said he is looking for permanent space for its first standalone flagship store either in London’s Covent Garden or on Carnaby Street.
The brand’s international sales have grown from 5% to 50% of the business over the past 18 months, as it has launched into new territories including France, Spain, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. It now has around 400 stockists worldwide, around 300 of which are in Europe.
Morris said he hoped to move into Scandinavia and China next year. “People [potential partners] have approached us, but we need to make sure they are the right ones for the brand,” he said.
The average wholesale price for bags has increased from £20 to £24 and purses from £11 to £13, ranging up to around £49 for a large, slouchy suede bag. “The price is naturally going up because the materials are more premium,” explained Morris.