all images courtesy of Brittique website
I’ve been a fan of online boutique Brittique for a while now, and they cater to my British fashion fetish. Reading their list of designers is like reading a roster of Who’s Who in emerging fashion at London Fashion Week, including Emma Cook, Hannah Marshall and Preen. Recently, Brittique expanded its reach, seeking out newer designers such as Kate Tailyour, whose grey, environmentally friendly bubble dress has been added to my wishlist. I had a chance to interview the charming Nicole Bremner, who recently relocated to London after spending two years in New York. Bremner, who is about five months pregnant, just added a maternity category to her site, which is thoughtful indeed, because one thing I’m dreading if and when I become pregnant is dowdy maternity wear! Read on to learn more…
Tell us a little bit about Brittique. Who are the owners/partners? And… how did you come up with the name?
Brittique launched in October 2006. It is owned by me – it would be nice to have a business partner though! The idea was to support up and coming British designers and provide them with the retail presence they require to generate brand awareness. The name is a play on the words British Boutique. It took so long to come up with a name!
above: a dress from Hannah Marshall
One of my dreams is to own a boutique some day. Do you have a background in retail, fashion or both?
My background is in finance. I worked for a large fund manager before deciding that I wanted to start my own business. I naively thought it would be easier than working for someone. I researched a number of ideas before deciding on this business. I wasn’t completely new to fashion though. I’ve been sewing and designing clothes with my mother since I can remember and devouring fashion magazines. Many people come into fashion with a fashion background and no business sense. I believe I have an advantage with my business/finance background.
You carry so many great pieces at Brittique. Do you do the buying yourself? Where do you do your buying? And how do you decide what goes in the shop?
I do the buying although we had Susie Bubble as a guest buyer for AW08. She picked some really great pieces and it was lovely to work with her! I do most of the buying around the time of London Fashion Week at designer’s showrooms. Lately I’ve been focusing more on newer, fresher designers so I’ve been looking further afield. Most designers come to me now that we have an established name.
Deciding what to buy is not easy. Of course I have to love things but I have to think about what my customers love too. I have a really good customer who shops with me a couple of times a month so I always think about her and what she would like.
Are there any emerging designers you are excited about this season?
I’m always excited at buying appointments but want to wear everything immediately. I just love the Bionda Castana "Amber" shoes and couldn’t wait to take delivery. Louise Amstrup is always exciting. Her tailoring and quality finish is just beautiful. Kate Tailyour is a new designer we have for SS09. All her clothing is from ethical fabrics and is made in the UK. She has some wonderful and wearable dresses that are so versatile.
above: Bionda Castana shoes
above: Louise Amstrup dress
above: Kate Tailyour bubble dress
You carry a broad array of designers, so I'm curious... Who would you say is your typical customer?
My typical regular customer is a professional woman probably aged from 27-37 who is not afraid to stand out and make a statement with her clothing. She is confident in her own skin and loves to look good without being a slave to fashion.
Thanks so much for the interview, Nicole. Are there any future projects or collaborations for Brittique we should know about?
There are always so many ideas running around my head for the future of Brittique. It would be nice to find a business partner to push forward with these ideas. I’ve started planning for a complete website overhaul with some fabulous features to make shopping even easier for our customers. We could also have a proper showroom in the near future.
Visit http://www.brittique.com to shop!
Sheer Luxe: Coffee with Nicole Bremner
Style Bubble: Susie Bubble on Brittique
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