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Alvin Holgate

Alvin Holgate is owner of young fashion independent Heights Clothing, in Harbourne, Birmingham.

How is business at the moment?

Not too bad, we have had a good start, a little bit of a slow down since the holiday break but we are still up on last year.

How is the independent young fashion market overall?

I speak to a lot of people in the trade and they all seem to be very apprehensive. The figures speak for themselves. People are really paying a lot of attention to their businesses.

Which brands are selling well?

We have given womenswear much more attention than last year. We’ve introduced new brands such as firetrap, French connection and Ted Baker and this has proved to be very successful. So far this season we have had a very positive reaction.

What are the biggest trends in young fashion at the moment?

On the men’s side the branded polo shirts are selling best. Fred Perry and J Lindeberg have been very strong for us. Ted Baker is steady because it’s popular with our slightly older clients. In women’s, the rock chick trend is proving hugely popular. We’re selling a lot of printed t-shirts, leggings and denim. But then the feminie dresses are also going well.

Are you doing anything specific to drive trade?

We have set up a customer database, who we email and text once a month to highlight new products we have in or any new trends. We’ve had a massive response from this. It makes our customers feel a part of what we do. We have also just started opening on Sundays as well, which is working better than we thought it might.

How do you compete with the high street?

We have strong competition within the Bullring shopping centre but we have most of the brands they have all under one roof. We have also just bought seven car parking spaces next to the shop and that has definitely helped to bring customers in.

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