Australian-inspired womenswear boutique Austique is celebrating its five-year anniversary this year, and with a sales uplift of 10% and the launch of an own label two years ago, it has plenty to celebrate.
Owner Katie Canvin set up Austique, located on the King’s Road in west London, with her sister in 2004 and says the pair’s Australian background influences the shopfit and brand selection.
White wooden floors, soft lighting and vintage furniture create a relaxed and natural setting for the bright, colourful product. “A natural, white shopfit is common to Australian stores,” says Canvin, who designed the store. “With a soft white and pale blue palette, the products really stand out.”
Flowers are scattered throughout the store and the shop is lit by low spotlights which create a warm glow. A white backdrop creates a light, breezy atmosphere and ambient music sets the scene for a lazy summer’s day. The girly boutique, situated on two floors, is a welcome retreat from the bustle of the King’s Road. The ground floor features clothing, jewellery and accessories, merchandised by colour. Two large, luxurious changing rooms are at the back of the store framed by pale blue velvet curtains and matching carpet.
A Victorian glass cabinet showcases jewellery and sunglasses, while lingerie and bikinis spill out of wicker baskets by the changing rooms, and a white cabinet displays a colourful range of bras.
A wooden staircase with metallic 1930s-style wallpaper leads up to the second floor, which resembles an old-style dressing room complete with a gold chaise longue. More clothing and lingerie is found upstairs, as well as a huge cabinet along one wall bursting full of gifts like bubble bath, soaps and perfumes. The floor is carpeted in pale blue, with patterned pink and white wallpaper on the walls emphasising the store’s girly chic vibe.
Brands from around the world, including Australia and the US, fill the store’s rails. Austique stocks about 20 contemporary brands - including Camilla and Marc, Libélula and Yeojin Bae, many of which are exclusive to the store in the UK. This is down from about 60 a few years ago, a decision prompted by the tough trading conditions, but one which Canvin says has stood her in good stead. Her decision is reflected in sales, which are up 10% on last year.
Canvin says: “We have been testing our own range in store for the past two years, where it has consistently been our best-selling line. We have established the look and feel of the brand and believe we are in a position to wholesale it to a very high standard - so exciting times are ahead.”
2,000sq ft Size of the shop floor
Eight Number of staff
2004 Year the shop opened
- Austique King’s Road, London SW3