Tucked away off the main road in Melbourne’s famous Fitzroy is a little clothing store started from humble beginnings by former actress Anastasia. Coquette Clothes was originally a side gig to find a more reliable source of income when Anastasia moved back to Australia and became a mother. Little did she know that it would bloom into a safe and beautiful space for her loyal customer base to shop. We recently caught up with Anastasia to learn more about Coquette Clothes and her community.
SQ: What is the meaning behind the name Coquette clothes?
A: I chose Coquette because I was looking for a French-inspired name. When I started my business I sourced a lot of clothing from a supplier who specialised in vintage French clothing. I also sold French jewellery and played music from Amelie. Coquette sounded feminine and fun. A minx, a vamp, a flirtatious woman (not that I am one!)
SQ: Why did you make the jump from acting to running a clothing store?
A: I was a theatre actress in the UK for 16 years where I met my husband. Returning to Australia I wasn’t getting as much work as I did overseas and upon having children I had to find a more reliable source of income. It started as a business to supplement the family income but soon took over as it became successful and suited family life more than theatre night work did.
SQ: Tell us about why the community of women you’re targeting is important to you.
A: They are women who are committed to their family, their work, and their friends, and love their local community. They give and support others a lot and often forget to love themselves. These are the women I love and enjoy sourcing clothes that can help make them feel great.
SQ: What have been some of the responses from customers so far? And why do they keep coming back?
A: My business is not on the ‘High Street’ and is not a big space. Customers love the fact that it is almost hidden away — like a little gem that they have found. They like that it is small, warm, friendly, and a safe beautiful space. They trust us and feel that they can purchase beautiful clothes from people who are honest, we don’t spin lies to sell, and our prices are affordable. We aim to take the stress out of trying on clothes and work to make it an enjoyable memorable experience. We have a lot of returning happy customers every season.
SQ: How does Square help you and your team run the store day-to-day?
A: Definitely checking stock inventory, it’s easy and quick to assess what items we need to order. We also use Photo Studio to add photos when our suppliers don’t provide them. Even if these items are not visible online having a visual reference in our POS helps our salesperson to find stock quickly or to check what they are selling is correct.
We also manage our Online Store through Square. All of our online sales appear on the Register, Ipad, or my phone. We see immediately what has sold, a photo, customer details, address, and how they paid. The parcel is packed and lodged at the post office and the tracking number to easily put into the system to automatically inform the customer. We have had feedback from customers in appreciation of the communication and speed which is all easily done by any device.
Q: What are you doing to prepare your business for the Christmas retail season this year?
A: I am preparing by ordering smaller items, such as giftware and accessories that people may purchase as an add-on. I check inventory to see how many we have left and whether it is worth re-ordering a particular item. For example scarves, jewellery and candles.