My first shop was on Gloucester Road in the North Laine, 2003.You have tried a few pop up’s, but now you are firmly entrenched in Hove, Lewes and Arundel – did you envisage building so many shops?
I always wanted several shops, and still on the lookout!
Why fashion? Why not a business in arch welding? What drew you to retail fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion; I can see the art in it - and good clothing makes you feel good! I love changing up people’s look, getting them out of ruts and into something they might not have chosen. I see them look great and see the confidence in their smile and posture.
You have an incredibly loyal client base and much is down to the collections you choose. Is it getting harder to find unique lines, and how has the market changed since day one?
There are always new lines out there and it’s good for me not to get stuck on a rut. Also, as you know I love Instagram and I’ve found some great new brands through that platform. Me369 is a fun brand from Israel. I’m getting a French brand in for this summer, Bella Jones which is beautiful - all great colours and fabrics. Just been to buy a new denim brand, Paddock jeans - a great look and really good prices! Got to keep your eyes open and follow your gut.
You are from up north originally. Why did you come to Brighton?
I was living in London and came to Brighton on a whim after looking at all the areas around London I could think of!
Your Staff are all customer driven in as much as they always look to help the customer and give a personal touch when shopping with you. Do you see this as one of the things you are most proud of at Covet, the great service given?
The staff are great but that was always an integral part of my vision. It’s not just about great clothing, but the overall experience. You’ve got to like people and clothes to do this job. I’m very lucky to have my staff and I hope they feel that I appreciate them!
What do you see as the future for retail and what are the pitfalls that may hit for other boutique retailers starting out, who want a career like yours?
I think retail is getting tougher and things are changing. People are more reluctant to buy as far in advance, buying into homewares and doing more of their own collections. I think retailers are trying to move online a bit more, so there’s more of an independent offering there. But a whole new learning curve for us bricks and mortar folk.
I think I’ve learned that you’ve always got to carry on learning. Keep looking at what you do and how you could do it better. Love what you do and stay focused, listen to your gut instincts and never forget about the margins.