Hertford-based womenswear independent The Women’s Society Boutique celebrated 15 years in business recently with two in-store shopping events.
The first was a private party for its most loyal customers, who were given exclusive access to the launch of its AW21 collections alongside a discount and goody bag when they spent over £150. Following its success, the store hosted a celebratory two-day in-store event, offering shoppers a 15 per cent discount across its entire range.
Former fashion buyer Victoria Rex-Lees co-founded the business in 2006, eventually buying out her partner eight years later. Today The Women’s Society Boutique stocks a range of high-end womenswear labels, with curated collections from the likes of Essentiel Antwerp, Fabienne Chapot and Pyrus alongside mid-priced brands including Soaked in Luxury and Yaya.
“The private shopping event was a really lovely and successful day,” says Rex-Lees. “The changing rooms were absolutely packed, and it finally felt like the old days. Our customers have really missed being able to shop in-person without a mask. They want to try on clothes and see what they look like without wearing mask and they want to speak to us properly. The easing of covid restrictions has really helped us get people back into the store.”
Earlier this year the boutique was named one of the Top 50 Independents in the UK by Grazia magazine, which helped to drive awareness nationally and increase its e-commerce sales. During the lockdowns, shoppers were able to choose home delivery options from Trouva and the store’s website (womens-society.co.uk), with Rex-Lees making local deliveries in her car with a newborn baby in tow.
“We spent our thirteenth birthday in lockdown, so we’re so pleased to be through to the other side and celebrating 15 years in business,” she says. “A lot has changed over the past 15 years and retail is a completely different kettle of fish. With social media and e-commerce, we never stop working now – it’s constant. Our staff also must be multi-skilled in many areas. It’s a tough industry, but it’s also very rewarding.”
Looking ahead to the future, Rex-Lees says she is very optimistic about next spring and hopes to be able to grow the business both on and offline. “I feel lucky that we are located in such an affluent area that hasn’t been as hard hit as some,” she says. “We have lots of new customers as there’s been an influx of people moving here from London, so I’ll be working on maintaining those and giving them an exceptional experience.”