Dear NY - I love you. And that's why you can you now find my illustrations 15% off, at Thistle and Clover. In honor my "moving in", Rand and Camilla have been so kind as to answer some interview questions here on the blog! So if you have ever wanted to open your very own boutique,or just want to know about theirs, read away!What inspired you to open a boutique?
We opened Thistle & Clover because we wanted feature the work of young, up and coming designers. To that end, the store holds a quarterly Open Call (our next one will take place November 8th) where local designers are invited to present their collections to the store; we host regular Tailored Event Nights and cocktail parties at the shop; and we publish a biannual editorial supplement, which highlights the work of our newest designers.
What are the items that are the consistent best-sellers in your store?
A couple fall staples that our customers have been loving: Dusen Dusen print cocktail dresses, Lily & Jae Camisoles, Thistle & Clover Fleur De Lis Necklace, and Nona E. Rose belts.
What do you look (trends, certain styles, etc) when buying?
We founded Thistle & Clover because we wanted to provide contemporary pieces that were not only special and unique (of course!), but that also were wearable. No matter what we buy, we’re always checking for proper fit and production quality. And above all, we consistently ask ourselves “does this piece make sense in our girl’s everyday life?”.
Who is your target customer and what is she like?
While we have an online presence and a Covet List full of our favorite T & C pieces of the moment, Thistle & Clover is at its heart a neighborhood store. Our girl likes to be current with the season’s fashion, but never lets the trends wear her! We always try and stock lots of fun accessories and jewelry pieces so that she can really make each look her own.
If you could give a piece of advice to someone wanting to open a retail boutique,
what would it be?
Rope your best friend into opening it with you! (Just kidding) Really the place we started was our business plan. It helped us refine our ideas and hone in on our creative vision. We continually refer back to it whenever we are faced with a new challenge or a big decision.
What’s new for Fall this year ?
Our racks are stocked right now with classic, timeless pieces that are comfortable for this temperamental mid-season weather! Cozy but loose fitting cashmere, stripes (we love how French they are), textured silky tops in autumnal hues, and lowered hemlines (pencil skirts to the knee are the new sexy mini).
What are your plans for the future of Thistle & Clover?
We’re always planning our next big thing. We are going to continue our semiannual editorial lookbook, The Thistle & Clover Diaries (www.thistleclover.com), as well as expand our in-house jewelry line (sapphire filled shakers anyone?), and plan lots of fun event nights for our Fort Greene residents. In November, we’re hosting our very first book reading by Katharine Sise!
8. Where did the name for your store come from?
We went to school in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews. The store name is a nod to the national flower of Scotland, the thistle, and to the tune that was stuck in our heads while writing our business plan “Crimson & Clover” covered by the Velvet Underground.
What are the best/worst parts of owning a boutique?
There are no worst parts! The boutique affords us the ability to support wonderful, up and coming designers and promote their work to our fabulous customers-- and have access to fantastic clothes!
What sets you apart from all the other stores in your area?
We’re lucky that Fort Greene isn’t overly saturated with boutiques like some other parts of Brooklyn. The two other stores that are near us have strong aesthetics that are completely different from ours. We focus on feminine styles that can take a working girl from day to night, with just the addition of a boy-cut blazer or dazzling pair of chandelier earrings.
How do you attract and maintain your clientele with so much competition?
We try to really listen to our ladies. We make sure that we always supply them with a complete size run, find labels that are difficult to locate elsewhere, and augment our buys with editorial elements like The Diaries or designer meet-and-greets. We do our best to stay proactive and engage our neighborhood community at all times.