by Rowena Howie March 22, 2021
Check out New Arrivals for the latest from Emmy. We have lots more to come but here's a sneak preview about what to expect and why we've chosen what we have.
We work with some amazing suppliers who each season put out new collections and new products from which he have to decide what to stock.
On one level this is an amazing and fun time of picking what we like and what we think our customers will like but on another, more important, level we have to consider commercial and logistical considerations. Sometimes this even undoes our long list of what we would have liked to stock!
I thought I might give you an insight in to the priorities, the issues and the analysis that happens in our buying decision making process.
Firstly, the boss doesn't get to decide! It's always a team effort and this is something that applies to almost every aspect of the business. I really believe everybody should have a voice, so it doesn't matter how junior or senior you are all of Team Revival Retro is invited to contribute.
Smart separates and knitwear is what Emmy is great at. These are always what represent the bulk of our order every season. Our biggest problem is deciding which colours/fabrics as the designer often provides lot's of options.
Everybody loved the celadon green dots. It was an immediate hit. We tried it on and checked it wouldn't be too see through and we loved the colour and pattern. So we decided to get a blouse and a dress in this.
We have ordered the Preppy Professor Shirt and The Lovey Dovey dress in Celadon Green Dots.
We chose this dress over the divine darling as the latter has not been very popular when we have stocked it in other colours.
For tops we knew we wanted to stock both the Preppy Professor shirt and the Charming Charleston top. When deciding which colour in what, it was obvious that for Charming Charleston in Yellow Meadow print was the winner.
Apart from the classic same Old Favourite blouse in cream we didn't stock any of the shirts in any other colour ways.
It's funny how cultural associations matter. Amongst the collection was a high quality, well designed shirt but with its pinstripe pastels and contrast white collar for us London women tended to remind us of a style that was popular amongst men in the 1990s who worked in finance / the City. It's not a look we women wish to emulate so the shirts were dismissed. I say this to point out that we try to make the best decisions but inevitably bias and subjectivity creep in. We try to be aware of it though and adapt if appropriate but on this decision, we thought our UK customers would probably agree.
In our boutique we sell very few pastel colours, when we do, they have to offer something elevated and remarkable not cute or girlish. As we know we experience less demand from our customers for such colours, when we do, it's an exception for something that is simply beautiful and without comparison.
Normally we might have chosen a few select pinks, peaches, lavenders and light blues in Emmy's summer collection but this year we had to be cautious. We were fully in the grip of the COVID-19 when we made our buying decisions, with no end in sight to restrictions and our finances hammered by pandemic problems, ordering six months ahead was extremely difficult and we had to be really risk averse as a business. We regret that this means a restricted offering to you this season but it's what was necessary to help us recover and continue to exist as your favourite retro boutique. We've really appreciated all your support this past year, we aren't about to fall at the final hurdle now.
Fabrics are so important to us. So much so that we rejected almost every trouser for the Autumn collection because to us, even a slightly itchy fabric is a no go unless it's lined because we know our customers value comfort as well as style. Emmy's Spring Summer trousers offered linen mixes or heavier cottons and in a range of colours.
The linen mixes are soft and with a bit of drape to them. The cottons in contrast were stiffer and heavier. That creates quite a different effect for a trouser compared to a skirt.
We immediately fell in love with the cinnamon colour available in the linen mix. It's new and different for Emmy and it's the perfect shade to be flattering and practical.
It was a 'no brainer' to pick the playful palazzo pants. Wide legged elegant style, beautiful on their own or makes the most wonderful 1940s vintage inspired suit when worn with the en route jacket
We also got this combination in the natural linen for another colour-way choice.
The linen mixes are going to be great for summer weather and a mix rather than pure linen means there will be some resistance to creasing. I think creasing becomes less problematic when we consider the relative impact on the environment of different fabrics plus also our own comfort but I accept different people have different opinions.
The soft drape is perfect for free flowing palazzo pants but we decided against it for the Fancy Pants style which is closer fitting. In lighter colours in the linen mix we were worried these would tend to show every lump and bump so we opted for the more structured cotton in a darker colour, the midnight blue as we carried this popular style in black last season.
At Revival we believe it is imperative to touch and examine products before buying. It's rare that we will buy something if we haven't seen it or a version of it in reality. A photograph cannot tell you the whole story. A tactile approach is so important to clothes buying, it's why our bricks and mortar shops is so important and for a shop unlike for an individual it's not possible to return an entire stock line once we receive it.
Yes we got the matching gentlewomen waistcoat in midnight blue.
Emmy made some beautiful shorts and playsuits this season and they really are top notch. In the linen or cotton they are almost like different garments because of the fabric properties but both are lovely. So why are we not stocking them?
Price. We think we've got to know you pretty well and we know what our customers deem as 'worth it'. Quite simply we thought you would love them but wouldn't buy them. Prove us wrong, please, and tell us if we were. If we know there is an appetite for these then we know to include them in our order next time.
We didn't get the dungarees for a similar reason, not just price but because in the UK both the high street and online shops have been selling a vast choice of dungarees at various prices, we wondered if you had got that covered.
The good Old Grandpa Pants are a lovely new addition but looking at the navy cottons and natural linens already in our order basket we decided not to do pastels. So we decided to wait until next season then offer this style in some lovely Autumn colours.
There was only one thing we didn't like in the entire Emmy collection and that was the midnight meadow print, the scale and colours were not nearly as nice as the yellow. So that one wasn't an option for us.
Apart from that dresses were a difficult one. Charlie had said we need more sun dresses for hot weather but we do already have a lot of those coming from Emily and Fin but the stormy blue swirling sundress did make it in.
I insisted on the daring detective dress in natural linen as I think it's the perfect fitted shirt dress, quite different to other shirt dresses we offer.
I got vetoed on skirts I thought the cinnamon Vixen Vintage skirt was lovely but upon trying on the sample the rest of the team thought it was a bit too "mumsy". We are all different and we hadn't even added knitwear to the order yet so as the total was increasing we left out the cinnamon linen skirt but agreed on a button midnight blue skirt.
So, cardigans! The ever popular, high quality, great value Emmy Design knitwear. If we could we would stock every size and colour but as I mentioned earlier COVID has hit businesses hard and we have to stay within a strict budget.
We will not have every colour in every style. We will have less stock available so you may find things sell out faster.
However, what we also had to consider when we ordered six months ago was Brexit. Remember that? When we had spent years in the wilderness not knowing. It was painful and it still is.
The new trade agreement with the EU means we now pay duty on items not made in the UK / EU. Emmy cardigans are made outside the EU so UK prices will now increase.
If we do not carry the colour / style you want and you order direct you will pay import fees. UK customers buying from us you know the GBP £ price you pay is the final price you pay. We even offer free shipping. International customers make sure you checkout using currency USD / EUR to get the best prices available to you.
Regulars know we normally offer pre-order on the popular styles. We haven't been able to do this because we are not going to fix our GBP prices until we get our import bill.
Below is a list of ever cardigan style / colour we will carry. Stock will be limited.
Last thing, Emmy added two new knitted top to this collection: The Heart on your Sleeve sweater we thought the button fastening at the centre front neckline was a bit fussy and as such we wondered if we would end up with a high rate of returns. The Simple Camisole sun tops we loved and will carry in every colour.
In the past few years issues of responsibility for people and planet have taken greater significance for us. Beginning to design and manufacture our own products we have learnt a lot and bring new understanding to the collections our suppliers bring to us. What we have developed over the years is a 'considered approach' you can read about it here. There are no blanket statements or absolutes, there is just a million decisions making up every choice. I hope from this blog you can see we think a lot and care deeply about what we order. We work closely with our suppliers to develop relationships, understanding and priorities.
Once the items arrive (March to April) and we put them available for sale online we add to every product details about the provenance, as well as the usual details and descriptions.
We hope this was interesting and helpful, for any comments or questions contact us via email.
Lover of beautiful things and amazing people. Explorer and Entrepreneur. This is my independent shop, whether you visit our London boutique or browse our online offering it is my vision that our wonderful team is working hard to bring to life.
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The Revival Retro Boutique
30 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JL (Goodge Street, Tube)