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Jo Southcombe – Owner/Buyer, Retail Therapy
“I’ve been in the fashion business longer than I like to admit but 8 shops later, if there’s one thing I learned early on and still keep in mind is that (unfortunately) we’re not all 25, size 8 and six foot tall but whatever we are…
We ALL want to look amazing and we ALL love a bargain!
Retail Therapy’s customers are real women of all shapes and sizes and my buying reflects this. I study fashion trends, attend fashion shows and spend a lot of time in other high street shops in the UK and Europe. Then I collect styles and ranges from different designer labels, which I know the customers in the West Country will buy and enjoy.
A successful buyer can’t indulge their own personal taste. I’ve seen too many people open gorgeous little boutiques, but make the fatal mistake of buying for their own taste and their success is short-lived because they are catering for a narrow market.
In the world of ‘Clearance’ we don’t always have complete collections in a range of sizes that forward order stores do but the ‘Up’ side of this is that we offer a beautifully merchandised, eclectic mix of amazing quality designer pieces at a fraction of the price and very often one off samples you simply won’t ever see again.
My shops have now been trading over fifteen years and I have built a unique business and relationships with my suppliers and thus, am able to pass on the vastly discounted merchandise to my customers.
Every season in Retail Therapy is different with stock arriving in stores every 1-2 weeks, keeping my girls (each one an experienced stylist) on their toes.”
“Going forward I’m excited about a strong future for the company, we are small but efficient enough to react to changes in a tough retail climate and my buying and logistical decisions are based on what happened today rather than studying a spread sheet weeks later.
We’re selling more full price, Forward Order collections, despite the recession and we continue to be the top of the list for Wedding Guests across the South West for Occasion wear, bespoke millinery and shoe dying service. And most importantly we continue to offer the best customer service on the high street, which is why most of our very first customers from our very first shop in Castle Cary still shop at Retail Therapy!”