Tag Archives: boutique

Boutique Focus: Fine Young Things

Andy and Eleni set up childrenswear boutique Fine Young Things as they wanted to create a retail hub for luxury items that would last – and still be loved as hand me downs. They also realised how difficult trawling a shopping mall can be with little ones in tow (and they should know, as they have three of their own!)

We caught up with them to find out more about Fine Young Things and the challenges they have overcome.

SM: Tell us what makes Fine Young Things special?

Andy and Eleni: As parents to three growing boys we have over the years struggled to find quality clothing on the UK high street. With family from all over Europe we soon discovered that the choice for kids-wear is formidable abroad. You can find that “something a bit different” and that’s what we aim to do. Best of all, the quality is so good that clothes our 8 year old wore are now worn by our 3 year old. Everyone loves a “hand me down”.  To facilitate the shopping experience we’ve developed our very own look-book idea to help visualise outfits and how items can be mixed and matched.

SM: How do you choose which labels to stock?

Andy and Eleni: First and foremost we are looking for high quality and great style and unusual designs. As a first step we’ve spent time selecting some trendy fashion labels from all over the globe for boys & girls, ages 0 to 12 years. There’s recognisable labels such as Billieblush, Billybandit & Garcia Kids but we’ve also introduced some fabulous brands relatively new to the UK market such as Sticky-Fudge from South Africa & Carrement Beau from France.
SM: Which are your bestselling items?

Andy and Eleni: That really varies from week to week. At the moment party wear for boys and girls is going strong. So faux fur coats, party dresses as well as hats, coats and scarves.
SM: And which items do your own children love most?

Andy and Eleni: I must say they have acquired quite a few pieces that they’ve taken a fancy to! They each have their own style.  My eldest likes a smarter, more formal style with jeans and a funky checked shirt whereas the other two love to be casual and mostly go for the fun tees and soft hoodies.
SM: What are your biggest challenges as a business?

Andy and Eleni: Juggling our jobs and the new business and our three boys. But it’s a challenge we are embracing. We talked about doing this for so many years and now we’re loving sourcing new products and labels and getting great customer feedback which is just brilliant.
SM: And what has been your proudest moment?

Andy and Eleni: It is early days as we only launched this summer – on the date of our tenth anniversary as we wanted to make the date extra special! Our boys loved getting involved on photo-shoots and have made lovely models and our family have been incredibly supportive. We’re just very proud of them and our achievements so far.
SM:  What’s next for Fine Young Things?

Andy and Eleni: We will be bringing more beautiful children’s wear brands online such as DOT Portugal and some exclusive made to order ceremony pieces from Greece, so watch this space!

Editor’s pick: we’ve fallen for this dandy blue boy’s blazer, perfect for Xmas parties …

Order online from Fine Young Things

Images: FYT

 

Boutique Focus… Born Gifted

Born Gifted is a lovely site that offers a huge choice of gift solutions for all ages and all family members. Run by Jim Wilson and his wife Penny it is a veritable treasure trove of presents for all occasions and budgets. We caught up with Jim to get the low down…

jim wilson

SM: How did Born Gifted come about?

Jim Wilson: I was inspired to launch Born Gifted in 2002.  A friend of mine had just had a baby and I found the choice of baby gifts was somewhat limited in the UK, particularly online.  Around the same time I took a short break to the Netherlands where I purchased my friend’s child a lovely crocheted rattle by Dutch designer Anne-Claire Petit.  My friend was so impressed I decided to see what other stylish brands were available on the continent.  It was apparent that there were many design-led, luxury baby products being produced by our European cousins that weren’t yet readily available in the UK.  The seed was sown for a new business venture.

In early 2003 after a visit to a trade show in Paris the website www.borngifted.co.uk was launched.   Born Gifted was one of the first websites in the UK to offer brands such as Anne-Claire Petit, Kaloo, Sophie la Giraffe, Janod and Oskar & Ellen. 

SM: Which are your best selling gifts?

Jim Wilson: For new babies the best sellers are consistently personalised blankets and engraved money boxes.  People love a personalised gift which also serves a useful purpose!

 

We are also well known for our extensive range of christening gifts and with christening season well under way the sales of our personalised bibles are very high at the moment.   In addition as people tend to spend a bit more on a Christening our solid silver and pewter ranges are also in high demand.

In terms of baby toys, the Sophie the Giraffe range from France is still very popular with our customers; this has always been a best seller for us and I’m sure will continue to do so.  I think the main appeal of this is that it is made from all natural materials giving complete peace of mind to the parents.

SM: Which gifts from the site do your own family like best?

Jim Wilson: Personally I am a big fan of anything featuring The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I loved Eric Carle’s book as a kid (as do my kids today) so I feel a strong connection with the brand.

 

My wife’s particular favourites are our own gift sets which come in personalised boxes; Sophie the Giraffe gift baskets, and the Kaloo Patchwork Doudou!

My children have all loved playing with the wooden toys by French manufacturer Janod.  Their toys are great quality; colourful and very robust (they had to be with my boys).  Needless to say they have ‘tested’ quite a few products for me over the years!

SM: Which member of your family is most difficult to buy presents for?

Jim Wilson: That’s an easy one – my eldest son.  Every year his Christmas or Birthday list consists of ‘i-Pad; Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge Phone; Tickets to Disney World; Laptop etc. – you get the idea.  He gets full marks for trying at least!

SM:  What have been the biggest challenges for the company?

Jim Wilson: Most of our visitors are generated via Google search so we rely a great deal on good rankings in their search results.  Google have made huge changes to the way they rank web pages in recent years which has certainly proved challenging for many independent businesses such as ourselves who now often have to rely on more expensive forms of paid advertising.  Luckily we have very loyal customers with a repeat custom rate of over 20% – so we must be doing something right.

Competition is much stronger now than when we started which was inevitable, however the market does seem to be dominated by a handful of very large ecommerce sites.  While I have nothing against these types of sites I believe the smaller independents can often offer more interesting product and better service to its customers.

SM: What’s next for the business? 

Jim Wilson: Global domination!  Ha ha maybe a bit over the top.  We are set to expand into the international market in 2015.   We receive so many requests about overseas delivery that we have finally decided to bite the bullet and offer this service in the next few months.  We are currently in talks with various international couriers, so watch this space…

Editor’s pick of the site: make your life a little sparklier with this personalised canvas…available in a huge choice of colours to match any tiny person’s bedroom…