Fashion Femme, Emma Allen, knows a good quality fashion item when she sees one. As the founder of the online clothing reselling service Style Sequel, she’s developed an eye for gently pre-owned designer items.
Emma sat down with Van City Pretty to talk luxury fashion, what she’s coveting for Fall 2012, lessons learned, and how the Style Sequel can help you buy and sell designer items.
1. What is Style Sequel all about? Why did you start it?
I have always loved beautiful clothes and have been an avid pre-owned shopper myself for as long as I can remember. I started selling a few of my own piece on eBay around five years ago, moving on to selling for my friends and then for a select group of ladies in Notting Hill. My ‘catchment’ area quickly grew to cover the whole of London and the UK and I also gained many international sellers.
By the end of 2010 I had built up a wonderful and extensive list of sellers and buyers around the world and I just knew that there was a gap in the market for a truly specialist online clothing reselling service with a high level of care and quality a 100% authenticity guarantee. I really wanted the experience of selling second hand clothing to be as easy and simple as possible for our sellers and also as much a pleasure for our buyers as buying and item new.
2. What has been your biggest challenge to date? Biggest triumph?
The initial logistics of setting up a business were very challenging as I’d never done anything on that scale before. Building the website, finding premises, staff etc. – it took a lot of work and was pretty stressful at times. But it has all been so worth it. Every day is a new challenge and there have been many highlights. I’ve met some amazing people so far and have interviewed people I really admire, such as Rebekah Roy and Kerry Taylor, for the Style Sequel Chats section of our blog. We have also had some wonderful PR in Elle, Harpers and The Independent and have recruited so many amazing new sellers and buyers over the last year. In fact seeing our customer base grow each and every day, and getting wonderful feedback from people who really appreciate our selling skills or who buy something they love; that is the biggest triumph.
Left to Right: Prada and Stella McCartney
3. Where do you source your items from? What is the best item that you’ve ever sourced?
We are very lucky to have many, many wonderful sellers from all around the world. From fashion industry insiders to members of the celebrity glitterati, our sellers are some of the most stylish you can find. A lot of our new business comes from word of mouth but we also have had some amazing PR (as mentioned earlier) and we are keen on utilizing social media also.
We have sold so many amazing pieces that it is impossible to pick one. From Hermes Birkins, to rare Tom Ford for Gucci pieces we really do sell some of the most incredible pieces of ‘second chance style’ that you can find. Recently we had a seller send us over 60 pieces of Alexander McQueen which was an absolute treat. At the moment we also have this Chanel Cruise 2005 ‘No5’ jacket – as seen on Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada.
4. What are your secrets to making a second hand or well-worn item look new again?
We really only sell items in excellent condition’ so we do not have to really deal with ‘revamping’ pieces. Having said that a good, expert dry clean works wonders as does removing bobbles from jumpers and having any loose buttons re-secured. Shoes can always be resoled/heeled and can even be dyed if needs be.
5. What are your must-have wardrobe items for Fall 2012?
A fabulous coat, maybe military or fur – we have some incredible ones coming up from Balenciaga, Lanvin and McQueen to name a few. Also some super luxe statement boots (I really love these Prada’s) and something with beautiful embellishments/textures such as this McQueen jacket or this Chanel jumper.
Left to Right: Chanel and Alexander McQueen