Fleur Webb, designer and owner of womenswear label Fleur B and the Fleur B boutique applies her customer insight to her chic designs and sophisticated boutique.
Fleur B. autumn 16
After working as a buyer for Next and Debenhams, in 2008, Fleur Webb made her first foray into retail when she co-founded the boutique Feather & Stitch in Richmond, south-west London. Since then, she has moved on to launch her own contemporary womenswear label, Fleur B, also opening the Fleur B boutique in London’s Chelsea, which stocks her own brand alongside brands such as See by Chloé and Vanessa Bruno. She designs contemporary collections informed by her former career as a buyer, her shopfloor insights from the Fleur B store and her passion for amateur photography.
How do you describe Fleur B?
Fleur B is a stylish contemporary womenswear label. Primarily, I think of myself as a creative and a designer, but I’m also a businesswoman. I’m pretty much involved in every aspect of the business in the shop, from the window displays to the admin to the social media and the design.
What is your favourite aspect of the business?
It all goes hand in hand. The most fun part is absolutely creating our own brand and doing the design, but I adore working on the shop floor and meeting customers.
Fleur B. Boutique
What made you decide to start your own label?
I started my own line in 2012, as I missed the creative side of product development. I got a lot of feedback from the shopfloor [at Feather & Stitch] and felt there were little bits and pieces missing from the collections we had. We started off simply with printed silks, and since then we have evolved into tailoring, leather and outerwear.
What do you do to get inspiration?
I’m an amateur photographer, so I’m always taking pictures. Anything that interests me or inspires me, I’ll take a photo. I’m always snapping and I always have my camera nearby. I have quite a large collection of imagery to inspire me and pull the collections together.
How did your background as a buyer shape the way you design?
When you have a buying background, everything always comes back to the customer – you have much more of a commercial sense to what you’re creating. I would describe the collection as trend influenced, not trend led. I’m always thinking about whether something is wearable for the customer.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the Fleur B shop?
Very contemporary. It’s a stylish simple aesthetic, but very girly and a little bit playful.
Fleur B. autumn 16
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s very similar to my customer really: influenced, not led, by trends. I will only wear what suits me, but I do always want to have a little of the look of the season.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Stay focused and keep it simple.
Can you tell us a bit more about your initiative to support new designers: Fashion Springboard?
It’s hard to bridge the gap between being an incredibly talented designer and placing yourself in front of the customer. We wanted to pioneer the project in order to give new designers the opportunity to do that. I want to give retail space to new designers so they can get the kind of customer feedback they might otherwise not have.
Who do you admire most in the fashion industry?
Yasmin Sewell [fashion director of Condé Nast’s upcoming style.com] – she has such an instinctive eye for fashion. She always looks fresh and directional, but everything is very wearable.
What’s your career highlight to date?
Probably the Fleur B line’s first wholesale order. It was a collaboration with Anthropologie. That was the first time I saw Fleur B outside my own shop and in another store.
Favourite clothing brand?
See by Chloé
Favourite places to shop?
I always make time to shop when I’m travelling – I absolutely adore Merci in Paris
Last fashion purchase?
In the US, I bought a pair of plaid cropped flares
Cyprus. I have children, so holiday time tends to revolve around them.
Last book you read?
French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano – it’s all about being a total foodie but having to have some moderation.
Sales assistant at Karen Millen – back in the early days when she only had two shops.
What would you do if you didn’t work in fashion?
I’d be a therapist. I find people’s behaviour and motivations absolutely fascinating.