Sunday, 3 November 2013

Interview with Buffalo Boutique

I have always been a firm supporter of Independent vintage stores and Buffalo Boutique provides a great platform for Cardiff vintage sellers to network. So it comes as no surprise that I was front in line to help out. Be it DJing their events, or modelling, or even helping stall owners set up for the evening, Buffalo Boutique is one event that remains a passion of mine. 

Buffalo Boutique is just one of Cardiff’s student friendly fashion events that allows students and fashion-minded people come together to revamp their style. Out with the old and in with the vintage…

I spoke to Kay Russant of Buffalo Boutique about smart tailoring, independent brands and the Cardiff fashion community.

Firstly, Kay, tell me a little bit about yourself?
I do a bit of freelance marketing in events for fashion in Cardiff. I’ve done stuff for CFW and CFQ. But I’ve done loads of bits and pieces; working with BB we’ve worked with Puma, UO and Topshop – just advertising their brands and bringing it to students I guess.

What was your reason behind starting BB?
We wanted to offer a late night shopping event where you could come to socialise, drink and find a bargain. We encourage our sellers to keep prices low and suggest stock ideas so that they can tailor to current trends. We also wanted to give new brands a chance to get themselves out there too!

How do you find the designers and stall holders who showcase at BB? (Do you scout them, or do they come to you)
Its a mix, we get a lot of people emailing us after coming to a previous event, or a friend suggesting it to them. I spend a lot of time scouring Etsy, ASOS marketplace, facebook looking for new designers or vintage sellers to refresh stock every month and keep building the BB network.

It is very difficult to succeed as an independent shop, especially with corporate shops still smothering the high street. However there have been signs of independent labels becoming popular. What is the future for independent shops, in your view?
Independent shopping has been very popular recently, with shoppers desperate to find something unique and different. The bigger shops are also trying to get a slice of this market, with Urban Outfitters having their own vintage (renewal) range, and Topshop has also been opening their doors to new independent brands in their concessions.
Being an independent its all about community and working together, we all club together to help each other out and to get as many people involved to help spread the word. That’s what makes things like BS8 in Bristol and CFQ in Cardiff successful.

How do you think BB has helped to showcase aspiring designers and stalls? (giving them publicity, networking, etc?)
I’d like to think that we have given them a platform to introduce themselves to the Cardiff fashion community. We get a lot of bloggers at the event who we encourage to talk to our sellers and to get involved, as well as all the shoppers who are desperate for something new. We promote everything online too, which has been really helpful with some of our custom sellers like Mati Stuff who does most of their work online.

Are there any independent brands we should keep an eye out next year?
I love These Folk, who do fun t-shirt prints with cats, beards and Mean Girls quotes. They have expanded to crops for the summer and hoodies for the fall, we’re super excited to see what’s going to come next from them. I should also mention that we also have some amazing artists who sell prints too, including Reunited Designs who do intricate patterns and bespoke designs.

What do you think about Cardiff fashion, what is a statement Welsh style?
I think the preppy style in quite Welsh – I’ve got my dungaree dresses and cant get enough of it. A lot of girls have beautifully collared shirts and the structured tailoring is a very nice ‘Cardiff’ fashion.

What lies ahead for BB? Any events we should pencil into our diaries?
The next event is on the 25th November which will be a Movember special, with a focus on menswear (as well as all the usual ace stalls for us girls!). The last one of the year is on the 9th December, where you will be able to pick up tons of great Christmas gift ideas for £20 or less.

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