Being an indie is about offering something different – about individuality and personality.
As a customer, part of the discovery of shopping at an indie is about finding something different, like stumbling across a secret or finding ‘the best shop in the world’. It’s our responsibility to give that experience to them. Now more than ever.
Owning an independent is about challenging the high street chains and offering something new and exciting. There are always staple trends for each season, but an indie doesn’t have to copy the chains. We need to encourage our customers to take risks – it pays off for us and them. The factories supplying the multiples are choking the smaller brands and manufacturers. We have the chance to use these smaller labels to give our customers something new, as well as a great platform for the label.
Agencies must take responsibility as well. The same brands come up season after season. Indies must be careful not to be too lazy, otherwise we’ll become like the chains, all full of exactly the same brands. I can fall into this trap and feel pressured to take the safe option but it’s against everything I’m trying to do.
In some cases, we are not being truly independent. It’s up to us to keep fashion exciting and buoyant.
- Melanie Drake, Owner of contemporary womenswear indie Melanie Boutique in Barnes, southwest London