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Rachel Black

Drapers probe leading Independents to get their View From The Shop floor.

What trends will be important for autumn 08?
Purples and emerald greens will be doing quite strongly for autumn 08 as well as the bright blues and mustards. As for silhouettes, the tunic is still going very strong. A satin fabric will probably be quite popular for dresses in the tunic shape as well.

What brands will be popular?
On the whole, most brands are playing it very safe for autumn 08. I haven’t seen a lot of newness. Penny Black has some nice key pieces, and brands like Evoce and Whiite have done some interesting things with colour this season.

What is happening to the Indie market in your area?
We haven’t been affected by the recession more by the weather! In fact, January and February were good, but March has been a bit slower, mostly because of the gloomy weather. As soon as the weather gets better, I am positive that business will pick up again as well.

What has happened to consumer spending?
The articles in the newspapers aren’t helping matters; it’s a bit a doom and gloom. However, I’m still hoping that certain pieces will capture customer’s attention and, overall, the weather seems to have affected the customers more than the current economic state.

How confident do you feel about business this summer?
I’m trying to remain optimistic. If the weather gets better, sales will be better, particularly of the summer stock. Also, because people need wedding outfits and are travelling a lot more now, it is easier to make sales.

What plans do you have for your business?
We are planning a promotion for April. Yet, that would be about it. Since the forecast has been so doom and gloom, I haven’t developed any plans to expand at the moment. For now, one shop is enough for me.

Are you going to set up a transactional website?
We are just getting that started. We are only 2.5 years old, so we are taking it one step at a time. My goal is to make everything available on the website.

What do you feel makes your store successful?
I make a point of giving my customers something different. I also focus a lot on colour. The store also prides itself on its customer service. We make our shoppers feel comfortable, especially the regulars.

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