“Radford House’ was the name of the building I lived in when I moved to London, the first place of my own. The name was elegant, quaint, and I couldn’t say it without smiling.
The weeks leading up to opening the store were spent sorting through closets and thrift shops, trying to find the best pieces. I wanted to create a shopping experience, for second hand clothes, that wasn’t only enjoyable because of the great deals but also because you felt like you were in a real high end store buying things for the first time. I pulled ideas from stores I loved; lots of space to look around, a nice atmosphere, change rooms that felt like home, and one on one attention from sale personal. Most importantly though the store had to be fun! Adding candy bowls, fresh flowers, and cute decorations, gave the place that little bit extra to turn it from thrift shop to boutique style consignment store.
Only being open for one week meant that we had to go all in all at once. There wasn’t a test run to see what our clientele would be, what pieces would be top sellers, what times of day there would be foot traffic. We went in blind, prepared, but blind.
From hour one I was learning. The only jobs I’ve ever had have been in retail, no real surprise there, so I felt that I at least knew what I was getting myself into. And in a way I did, and in a way I had no idea.
Having the store taught me so much in such a short period of time about the fashion, retail, and marketing world. About the difference between loving clothes and selling clothes. How to create a brand that is not only yourself but a business. And the importance of loving what you do. By the last day at the store I didn’t even want to leave to get a coffee because I didn’t want to miss out on one last sale.
I’m so thankful for everyone who supported me during the store, from my mum to the customers. It was a bigger success than I could have anticipated. I hope that the doors to Radford House will open again one day soon.