Italian & French Fashion For Discerning Women crack
The Beechwood Shopping Centre is best known for its large leafy haven that accommodates tired shoppers, not to mention the impressive water features that glitter with loose change. Above all this, on the first floor, is Love It; a recent addition to the arcade which offers stylish shopping for the savvy female.
The shop sits next door to Thread Shed, which is the owners’ first business venture. Owner Darren says, “We saw that a lot of kids came into the Thread Shed, and thought we could probably cater for an older market. Love It is very, very different to our first shop - we find the parents will usually shop in there whilst their kids are in Thread Shed”.
“Love It is a lot like some of the shops of Montpellier, just a lot cheaper. We get a lot of savvy customers who know that we offer good value; they’re exactly who we had in mind when we decided to set up the shop. A lot of our customers will shop in certain shops on the Promenade and in Montpellier, and then they’ll come in to Love It knowing exactly what they’re looking for”
The shop stocks very individual one-off items, and because of this Darren says “if you see something you like in Love It you have to buy it, otherwise it’ll be snapped up by another shopper! You can find things here that you would never get anywhere else”.
“I visited a shop in Stow-on-the-Wold a few months ago and noticed they were selling an item for £180 that we were selling for £80! It’s a huge price difference”. Darren describes Love It’s style as “very unique with a continental twist; most of the items are bought in from all over Europe, and particularly France”.
“Business has been constantly improving since we set up the shop. It’s obviously a big workload to manage two shops but it’s very enjoyable. The recession hasn’t really affected us, although I did notice a change in customers - people are much more controlled with their spending now. They won’t buy something just because its £1, they buy things that they really want, and avoid spending unnecessary money on impulse buys. They won’t buy average anymore, they want something a bit different, and that’s what we can offer”.
Darren reveals that he is trying to introduce larger sizes into the Love It range. The collections he and his wife have found have tended to be smaller sizes, “but now we’re trying to get in XL and XXL sizes, or size 14 onwards. Before, it was very much size 8-12s”.
In fact, Darren believes there is such a good market for plus size fashions that they have begun making plans to open a new shop, wholly dedicated to larger women. “The average size of a woman nowadays is 12-14 so there’s a big market there... although there’s still a lot of size 10s as well. There’s just a much broader range of sizes than there used to be which is great for us fashion retailers”.
Love It specialises in jewellery and bags, which are extremely popular with customers. A show stand on the ground floor shows off a selection of these and really pulls in the customers to the shop on the top floor.