Business profile - Society Boutique, Bowdon
PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 February 2017
Michelle McDowall launched Society, a new fashion store in Bowdon, mere months ago, but has already developed a loyal following of style-savvy customers.
started my career as a fashion buyer,’ Michelle tells me, ‘and went on to set up my own business as a wholesale fashion agency, supplying to high end fashion stores and boutiques across the UK. It was simply a natural progression for me to open my own store, but how it looked and where I located it were absolutely key for me.’
Michelle chose Bowdon for three very sensible reasons: it’s close to her home and son’s school; she has a firm desire not to be just one of many on a busy high street; she wanted the physical space to create an environment that is both relaxing and inspirational; and, oh yes, free parking.
‘Parking is important!’ she laughs. ‘Society is very much a destination store, people come here specifically for the brands I stock. We’re not really the sort of place that needs passing trade, as it were. My customers know fashion and know what they want, so come here specifically for that.
‘I knew it wasn’t really a risk, separating myself from the high street mix. I did a few sample sales of my wholesale stock over the years and they all went really well, so I knew I had a market and it was willing to come to Bowdon.’
Society is set across two floors, with a basement for Michelle’s office and storage. She has created clear ‘zones’ for her collections, from daywear to eveningwear and then shoes and accessories. She has also employed a personal stylist, who works in-store two days a week and by appointment.
‘Customer service is key,’ Michelle says. ‘And for me service is developing a clear understanding our customers’ needs and meeting them, both in terms of the brands and fashions we offer and every interaction we have with every customer. We keep a very detailed record of each item each customer buys, then when we have new pieces come in that we know they will like, we can email them to advise. This is working so well for us already; a personal relationship with every customer is what we’re aiming for and makes people feel truly looked after. We’re launching our online store in the spring, so customers can see what’s available even if they can’t get to Bowdon.’
Michelle presents collections from the brands her agency represents, of course, but also one-off seasonal collections from brands she has spotted and knows will fit with her wider range.
Brands include Rixo, a vintage inspired British range; Snowman New York, simply fabulous outerwear from the town that never sleeps; NÜ, fierce yet feminine fashion from Denmark; Mos Mosh, high end denim and relaxed fashion for days when doing nothing is the ultimate goal; Woden, the ‘It’ sneaker of the moment; hot Aussie label Keepsake and Blake Seven, fun and quirky fashion for young women who don’t want to follow the herd.
‘I make sure that I have a constant flow of new pieces from all my core brands,’ Michelle says. ‘There’s always something new for my customers and regular buying trips to London and Paris mean I can add new brands as and when I spot the perfect piece, whether that be a new shoe brand, accessories, evening or daywear. You can rely on Society to send you home with something a little bit different that you’ll love.’
5 Vale View, Vicarage Lane, Bowdon, WA14 3BD
0161 929 5307 |