“Real Clothes For Real Ladies” is the mantra of my guest this week. Penny owns Boutique 11, a store located in a busy suburb of Nottingham. Apart from her obvious passion for fashion, Penny makes sure that her mantra is always adhered to and with fortnightly stock change, regular ladies nights/instore events and a monthly customer prize draw – this little store is making big waves. I caught up with the lovely Penny to find out more….
Hi! I’m Penny Britton..I have as long as I can remember LOVED fashion! Looking at it in magazines feeling and touching it and of course wearing it.
What inspired you to open a boutique?
I have been in the fashion industry on and off for about 15 years. I think I really began to realise that I had a real flare for connecting with other ladies when I was the fashion advisor at John Lewis in Nottingham. Ladies would make an appointment to see me for either that special outfit, an everyday outfit or just fed up of their wardrobes or their look – they were looking for inspiration.
What do you like best about having a boutique?
What I like best….the look that my customers have on their faces when they have found something they look lovely in..(sounds corny doesn’t it? but I really mean it).I love choosing and buying all my own stock.When I go buying I am like a child in a candy store every time!
When picking stock for your boutique, do you go by the latest trends/colours, customer requests, popular styles, your own tastes or bits of all those?
I have a great variety of labelled fashion and stock fashion which I get directly from Italy/France. Personally I love colour and in the spring & summer months when I can buy colour, I certainly do. It makes me happy when ladies come into Boutique 11 and comment on how pretty all the lovely colours are that they have to choose from .I always pride myself on the fact that neither age nor size is an issue in Boutique 11 – my size and price range is fab..
When a customer visits your boutique, what would they experience?
My advertising line is “real clothes for real ladies”. My customers really do range from size 6 to 26 and ages early 30 to 90. I have been told that “I have funked up the ladies in my area”! The secret I think, is to buy the correct shape for you, of course, in a colour which suits your colouring but most importantly, when you look in that changing room mirror that you are smiling. Another thing we at Boutique 11 pride ourselves on is honesty.No one will go out of my boutique with anything which does not look FABULOUS on them. I am also being told over and over again ..we love coming here Penny, because you will always say if it’s not quite right and never try and sell us something for the sake of making a sale.
What famous lady would you like to see visit your boutique?
Mary Portas of course..she doesn’t need any fashion advice from us but I know I would be very proud of the service she would have received and gone away with smile.
Where did you get the inspiration for Ladies evenings from?
Well it’s just an excuse for a girlie night really..I fill the boutique with FABULOUS stock, offer my ladies something else – makeup artist, facials, nails done – anything ladylike really and of course, get in some bubbly…what else does a lady need? They are very successful and getting busier each time.
You hold regular monthly prize draws for your customers spending £100 or more at your boutique. How has that been received by your customers?
My latest competition is going very well, it encourages the ladies to spend while giving something lovely back. It’s a great talking point.
Anything else planned for this year?
I have been invited to put on fashion shows at two ladies charity lunches, one was in July and one in November. A ladies “afternoon tea party with fashion” in August. I have Summer, Autumn, Winter open evenings in Boutique 11 in the diary for the rest of the year!
Have you any favourite shops/online sites?
My favourite shop is Boutique 11 for sure… I love Mint Velvet label and James Lakeland fashion. Anything a little quirky really. I tend to shop in other small boutiques selling something a little different from the high street.
I really don’t have a favourite. You will find every single colour out there in my wardrobe from bright blue to acid green to the palest pink and lots of white linen for the summer. I think I do have a bit of a linen fetish!
Thanks very much for chatting to me Penny – I’ll be sure to pop in when I’m next in Nottingham. Although I love shopping online, boutiques like Boutique 11 make it fun to spend an hour or two looking through stock, hunting out those gems and what a fab way to spend a girly night out at a ladies shopping and pamper night! Do you agree readers? What are your likes/dislikes about shopping in boutiques as opposed to online? Do tell!
Photo Credits: All photographs have been published with kind permission from Boutique 11.