Katie&Jo is the latest boutique to cause a stir in the London fashion scene. Nestled away on the New Kings Road, it has become a haven for women in search of a contemporary individual look.
Created by best friends Kaite Diment and Jo Thyne the boutique offers a selection of hand picked garments that reflect current trends in a grown up, sophisticated way. Due to it's proximity to the most famous design schools in the world, Katie and Jo have become dedicated supporters of emerging British designers and even hold events in store where customers can meet designers and view future collections.
As trained stylists, they take time to try on every piece of clothing to check the cut, quality and style is of the highest standard. Through this process an accurate knowledge of the collections and designers who made them can be acquired ready to be passed on to the customer through Katie&Jo's exclusive personal styling service.
I have been lucky enough to interview Katie Diment and Jo Thyne about their boutique Katie&Jo and also their exciting launch party held at the boutique.
What has been the biggest challenge in setting up your own business?
With only two of us to run the boutique and online business, we have had to adapt and juggle many different roles. This is not always easy and requires a huge amount of organisation. We felt it was important for both of us to learn every aspect of the business before designating individual roles/tasks.
Initially, when building the business, we were hesitant about investing in new brands which jumped out at us. We have learnt to trust our instincts and invest in brands which we believe in.
We have learnt by our mistakes and there have been a few!
What is a typical day for you?
After hitting the gym, we generally get to the shop about an hour early, this gives us quiet time to go through paperwork and share ideas.
At 10 am we open the shop and start with daily duties which include processing web sales, checking in deliveries, serving customers, re-merchandising the store, dealing with returns and customer orders and thinking of ideas to generate sales for the weeks and months ahead.
At 7pm we close the tills and run off necessary performance reports. We then head home to our other halves and time to ourselves.
What do you look for when finding designers to showcase in your boutique?
We look for brands which excite us. We trust our instincts and have found that brands we have fallen in love with, our customers have loved too.
We carefully consider which of our customer groups it will appeal to and if it will sit well with other collections.
The quality, cut and price point is paramount. Consistency is also important, we will research the brand to make sure they are not just a one-hit-wonder.
Do you have any plans for the future?
We will always be introducing exciting new brands. New in for SS12 is AG Jeans, a US denim brand committed to creating jeans with a genuine vintage appeal, and up and coming young British designer, Charlotte Taylor, known for her quirky bold prints.
We will be looking to expand the website which was launched in September this year, and feel strongly encouraged by its success so far.
We have also seen a niche in the market. Perhaps there will be a Katie & Jo brand in the future….
What advice would you give to any designers trying to get their clothes showcased in a boutique?
Make sure you come fully prepared to answer all our questions on price point, marketing and quality. Show enthusiasm and confidence about your brand and know which other brands it will sit with. Bring samples with you and make sure sizing is accurate. Have a look book and line sheet at hand.