Attire Accessories - Dec 2017/Jan 2018 (Issue 67)

46 ATTIRE HOW IMPORTANT IS THE LOCATION AND HISTORY OF THE COMPANY TO ITS SUCCESS?   The UK side of the business began in London, where I feel it fared better than where we are now in Poole in Dorset. However, the company had to move with the family, and I think that our children have had a happier childhood in Poole than they might have done in London, so you win some and you lose some! Cocowai’s history with Nepal is invaluable. My relationships with people in Nepal, and the way we’ve worked together, have helped overcome so many hiccups and kept us all going. HOW HAS THE PRODUCT OFFERING CHANGED OVER THE YEARS AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT COLLECTION? We’ve increased our collection massively from its humble beginnings. We now have around 20 styles and weights of cashmere shawls and pashminas. We also have a small range of knitwear, mostly free size in the form of kimonos and ponchos, and large wraps.Then there’s an extensive range of accessories, including gloves, bed socks, hats and snoods. We make huge blankets to order too. HOW OFTEN DO YOU LAUNCH NEW LINES?   We’re always changing the collection a little, but only a little, as most of the range is very classical. We might promote certain new colours, and tassels come and go. We play around with different knitting styles, which come and go. A brand like Cocowai, however, doesn’t need to bring in a whole new collection every season. Naturally our lighter weights will always tend to sell better in the summer, and then we’ll bring in heavier and warmer pieces for the autumn/winter season. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT BESTSELLING DESIGNS? TELL ME ABOUT YOUR RECENT CAMPAIGNS.   Our bestselling lines are currently the beautiful Rugged, or Annapurna shawl. This is such an unusual piece, and I think distinctively Cocowai. It’s a hand-loomed wrap with what appears to be a slightly rugged complexion – until you feel the softness and quality of it, which makes it rather irresistible. Our other bestsellers are our snood, or neck band, and of course the traditional pashmina stole. WHICH TRADE SHOWS DO YOU ATTEND AND WHICH ONE WORKS BEST FOR YOU? We exhibit at Scoop at the Saatchi Gallery twice a year. It’s a wonderful trade fair, and our collection sits really well within it. WHEN WAS THE WEBSITE LAUNCHED AND HOW DOES IT SUPPORT THE BUSINESS? We had an absolutely beautiful non-retail website, which we launched 10 years ago. At the time of creating it, I felt strongly that I didn’t want to compete with the retailers that I was selling to. Morally, this seemed the right thing to do. However, the retail market has changed enormously over the last decade, and with so much being online now, I felt we had rather missed the boat, and finally took the leap and launched our brand-new e-tail site this August. I’ve been conscious to keep the prices on the site the same as our retailers would be selling them for, so as not to be in direct competition with them. It’s so important to take care and support our retailers or we will lose them. A product such as ours really needs to be touched, and the end buyer needs to understand its quality – that’s something that’s very hard to sell online. Our website is very, very new, so it’s