Something that I really like doing on Style Guile is writing about new brands and independent boutiques. Sadly many independent boutiques have not weathered the storm of the recession. When you live in a big City like I do, the astronomical rents mean that they just can’t compete with the High Street stores. This is such a shame as they offer such a different shopping experience, both in terms of the choice and the personal service. I would love to be able to pop along to a local boutique and to pick up some simple, stylish, interesting pieces from niche brands.
I’ve followed the activities of Marianna Boutique (Ipswich) on twitter and facebook for a while now and last week I contacted Emma, who runs the boutique, to see whether she would mind if I wrote about her business.
The Becksondergaard tote in “Mouse” (£45)
There was something about the clothes that Emma featured, and her comments on social media, that made me think: “She sounds like a nice lady, I’d like to find out more about what she’s up to.” If I’m honest, I’m a bit nosey too plus I always like a success story – and recently the boutique has had a great success story. Emma described being “beyond thrilled” to be a Drapers Independent Awards finalist 2014.
Interestingly, prior to buying the boutique, Emma was a customer there and loved the collections, especially those by the Danish brand Malene Birger. At that stage, she worked as a senior finance manager for a large insurance company and did so for nearly 20 years but after having her children, she realised that she needed to make some adjustments to her busy life. (Apparently she has failed in this respect as it’s no less crazy now!)
Hofmann Mathilde dress (£239)
Emma trained professionally as a personal image consultant and bought Marianna six years ago. She believes that her expertise in knowing what colours suit certain skin tones or what shapes flatter particular body shapes, combined with a head for figures, has helped Marianna weather the recession and come through it stronger than ever. She says that it’s also a great asset when she’s in buying appointments as she knows which pieces will work best on her customers.
ChloBo yellow tassel necklace (£40) – (I think that this would look great when I go to V-festival on Saturday).
Emma told me that the boutique’s USP is very much “Scandinavian Style” and that they specialise in premium Danish designers. Most of Marianna’s customers are ladies aged 35-55 and many of them have been customers since the boutique first opened its doors in 2004.
Printed biker jacket (£149 reduced from £249)
The Marianna website
was re-launched this Spring and showcases some of the pieces
available at the boutique (although only about 75% of the stock goes online due to
the availability of quality images.)
Emma has set up a discount for 10% off Style Guile readers on any orders at Marianna. The code is STYLEGUILE10 and it expires 30th September, so there’s plenty of time for new season purchases. For anyone who’s interested, amongst the pieces above, these are what I have my eye on…
The Sargossa heels (£220) which come in several colours and which are designed to be the ultimate in comfortable high heels. Apparently they have medical grade shock absorbing foam to take pressure off the feet and the heel height is calculated with the optimum platform to support the foot. They sound pretty perfect to me.
With the Drapers awards lunch in London in September it’s going to be a busy month for Emma and the boutique and I wish her the very best of luck.