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001. The Dressing Room

6-8 High Street, St Albans

Who you need to know Owner Deryane Tadd

Brands include American Vintage, Ash, Becksöndergaard, ChloBo Jewellery, Day Birger et Mikkelsen, Hudson Jeans, J Brand, Maison Scotch

Owner Deryane Tadd

Owner Deryane Tadd

With a beautiful store stocked with several best-sellers, it will come as no surprise that The Dressing Room has topped 2013’s list.

It’s been a spectacular year for the contemporary womenswear retailer, in which it added the Drapers Footwear & Accessories Awards’ Best Accessories Offer to its growing haul of Drapers awards. In fact, one wonders where owner Deryane Tadd will keep them all.

Ask Tadd what The Dressing Room’s secret is and the answer is simple. “Passion,” she says.

“We are dedicated to being the very best independent retailer possible. As a team, we put our heart and soul into the business and have seen consistent growth in both our bricks-and-mortar and online businesses. Our attention to detail, outstanding customer focus and product mix picked for our specific customer base sets us apart from our competitors.”

It appears that passion pays. In the past year, the business has gone from strength to strength. Online has been a major focus, seeing a year-on-year increase of 89%. In-store investment in new brands - Farhi, 2nd Day, Olivia Burton, By Malina - and regular staff training, has yielded a 5% increase against what was already “a very strong 2011”, says Tadd.

Tadd knows her customers, and her savvy buying resulted in her store partnering with Danish accessories brand Becksöndergaard, resulting in a year-on-year increase of 639% in sales of the brand after Tadd upped her order fivefold.

Kam Harris, UK sales agent for Becksöndergaard, is full of praise for the store, describing The Dressing Room as a key stockist. “Deryane is not afraid to try new things and pushes the boundaries by bringing new and exciting products to the store. Her attention to detail is second to none with a beautifully merchandised store.”

Equally positive is John Pritchard, sales agent at agency Inexcess Fashion, responsible for wholesaling American Vintage in the UK. “Deryane Tadd’s vision for her store has been remarkable. Its growth is down to Deryane’s focused brand mix and her ability to capture and inspire customers with a great selection,” he says.

“Perfect customer service with strong business nous is Deryane’s secret to success. A shining example of an independent store.”

And if that isn’t enough, The Dressing Room raised £6,500 for local charities in 2012.

After such a busy year, most people would want to put their feet up and relax. But Tadd’s set her sights on further growth this year: “Online growth is key, so expect to see more results here. New brands, customer events and brand exclusives are in the pipeline. I never stand still for long, so I have plenty up my sleeve for 2013.”

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