Attire Accessories -Jul/Aug 2018 (Issue 71)

114 ATTIRE The Hambledon +44 (0)1962 890 055 realised how much stock it would take to make the building feel plentiful. I was very lucky to meet a new accountant who encouraged me to spend more money than I thought wise. As a result, we started to make more money. How are you different to similar competitors in the industry? We are sort of a mini department store. We sell all sorts of things here at the store across many different categories. We are not accessories specialists, but we are accessories enthusiasts. What is your product offering and how do you go about sourcing your stock? The product offering is very broad. And we source from all over the place. It might be trade shows, but it could equally be leads from customer recommendations, Instagram, magazines, websites, spying on other stores. Anywhere, really. What is your customer base? Again, it’s quite broad because we sell so many different things. It’s probably predominantly within a 30-mile radius of Winchester, but our online business is growing, and that obviously means our geographical reach is expanding. When was your website launched, and how does this support your bricks and mortar store? We relaunched the website earlier this year and made fashion transactional for the first time. It is a great window on the world of The Hambledon for customers who like to research before coming into the store, but it is obviously designed with online sales in mind. Just how important is the backstory to the company? I don’t really consider it a backstory. Anything we’ve done in the past is just something that informs who we are now. What has been your standout moment since opening the store, and why? I think retail is a funny old game and made up of lots of little moments. I love buying. I love selling. I love visual merchandising. I love the people who work here. Most of all, I think traditional shopkeeping gives you a very privileged position in the local community, and I love the fact we’re part of the furniture of people’s lives. How do you view the fashion accessory/jewellery retail market at present, and what advice would you give other retailers? I don’t think of the accessory market as separate from all the other categories.The demands are the same. Buy the right stuff. Sell at the right price to the right people. Do what you do with conviction and a sense of purpose and fun. Pay your bills and look after your customers, and you should be fine. What are your future plans for the business? We plan to develop the online business but stay true to the roots of the business in old- school bricks and mortar retailing.There is room to do both well. A