Today I was lucky enough to interview the lovely lady behind the exciting new pop up boutique Invitation Only. You can read our quick fire interview as well as finding out about her next event below! But remember, it’s invitation only!
1. So tell me the story behind invitation only? How did you come up with the concept?
My background is in Design, both fashion and product & my business partner Diane, who is a life long friend has always worked in styling/personal styling in the high end, luxury sector. We were both pretty tired of seeing well known high end brands re-hash ideas season after season while other just followed suite! We know there is a time and a place for established designers, we love and respect a lot of these designers, as they are what helps to keep the market stable, they are reliable! But we also want to see something new, some fresh ideas. I personally was bored of going shopping and not being able to find anything I particularly liked, everything was just ‘OK’, so we decided we wanted to explore a different way of shopping.
2. What do you think makes your boutique different from others?
There are so may pop-up boutiques around so that isn’t where we have found we are different. Our difference is we have the perfect mix of not only established high end brands but also emerging brands. There are Lots of Boutiques, pop-ups who work with emerging brands and that is their thing. But, we wanted a nice mix of both and have managed to achieve that. For example at the last event we have Meli Milo who are exceptionally well established and sell in Harrods and many many boutiques world wide along side, Alona who are a very up and coming jewellery brand, whose pieces are North African & Middle Eastern inspired, totally amazing and they drew a lot of attention at the last pop-up. This brand literally grows on a daily basis. Every time we speak to Alona, they have got a new stockist! Then we also had a relatively unknown brand called I Love Kate who have these amazing silk scarves. These sell in Dubai and the middle east mainly although the brand is based here. So we have a real mix! Another thing we do which is different and literally keeps the Invitation Only Ladies working flat out from one show to the next. So as soon as one Pop-up has finished we are on the hunt, and brands hunt us with new pieces! Remember the Pop-Up is physically just for one day. We plan for the next Pop-Up as soon as we finish one. And to make the day a pleasant one, so our customers and us ladies really enjoy ourselves, we have complimentary champagne, afternoon tea and make-up sessions! What more could you ask for!!!
3. Where do you source the items for the boutique?
Wow everywhere, all our brands are uk based, we go to shows here and abroad to look for brands, some of the UK brands do not show in the UK anymore which is a shame, but such is life! As the show has been growing we have had more and more designers contact us. I’ve even been wandering down the street, seen someone wearing a piece I like, and have never seen before, and asked them who its by and contacted that designer direct! We don’t have one particular way of finding brands… We go where the wind takes us.
4. When buying for the boutique what inspires you?
We wanted to create a boutique where we loved and more importantly would wear every piece we had. Everything is hand picked by Diane and I, in which we chose pieces which can sit or all be worn together. A lady can come to Invitation Only and buy a whole outfit. jewellery, a dress, a scarf… what ever is needed for that luxury evening out! And the Invitation Only ladies are always on hand to give tip-top advice when it is needed.
5. How do you choose the designers for your pop up events?
Again it is anything we like, if we get excited by a brands piece when we see it, we will definitely take them on board.
6. What does fashion mean to you?
It is escapism, you can be who you want to be… Because to be honest stripped bare, it does not matter what our shape, colour or size is because we are all pretty much the same!
7. It is evident that your love of fashion has helped you set up a very successful pop-up boutique that is fun for women of all ages, describe to me your personal style, how you think this helped influence you.
I love modern takes on vintage pieces, my grandmother had, and still has, the most luxurious wardrobes! I used to love trying her clothes and jewellery on when I was younger. This inspired my interested in fashion to this day!
8. What were you doing before you started this boutique (tell me your fashion history?)
Designing prints for other brands.
9. How do you cope in stressful situations?
Deep breaths, lots of water (rather than wine) ans a nice bath!
10. Any advise for women, who like you, are trying to start something like this.
Do it, work with someone so you have the support. Someone you can lean on and who can lean on you!
11. What can we expect next from you and the boutique?
We have some lovely Macarons for a start accompanying the afternoon tea! Swimwear pieces for your summer holidays from Fred & Ginger, lots of jewellery and accessories to wear at the beach assuming that this weather will not put us off!! Beautiful silk pieces and leatherwear… The list is simply endless!!!
Here we have some photos of the last event so you can see what to expect!
If you missed out on Invitation Only’s last event, then do not worry as this pop-up boutique is returing to their glamourous home of Becca in South Kensington, for another exciting event this Saturday. The invite is featured below, and all you have to do is RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and on come down and enjoy some beautiful clothes, a complimentary make-up session, champagne and a lovely afternoon tea. The perfect Saturday afternoon.