Meet the Buyer: Clare Chapman, Hello Darling

Owner and Buyer at Hello Darling, Clare Chapman has always loved clothes. Finding it really easy to buy clothes for others, her buying background was buying clothes for herself and her family. Hello Darling doesn’t target a consumer type, with customers from teenagers to those in their late 80s all with a common love for clothing.

“Fashion should be ageless and we buy accordingly. I love my customers and know them all really well, so I go into each buy with them in mind.”

Chapman wants her store to be a place where everyone feels comfortable and welcomed. 

“There’s nothing worse than going into a store and feeling like you shouldn’t be there.”

A lot of customers have shopped with Hello Darling for many years. “I love all body shapes and it brings me joy when I choose something with a customer in mind and then it arrives and they love it instantly.”

Chapman works in-store and is passionate about the brands she stocks. Hello Darling stocks brands Chapman herself wears and has loved forever, along with new brands that she sees having longevity in an ever-changing market. She enjoys a brand with a story behind it, and looks to stock brands that care about their designs and makers. Knowing a brand’s story, Chapman can share with her customers why she chooses to stock each design. Brands have come and gone depending on reaction from customers, but the store also has brands it has always stocked and always will.

“I want labels that aren’t everywhere, who care about their stockists and the people that wear their designs.”

Coming from an interior design background, Chapman can’t help but consider a collections flow in-store.

“I am very particular about how things are displayed and racked - it should be a visual feast!”

Hello Darling’s clothing follows a loosely curated collection with a colour palette that blends, allowing customers to purchase items together - something that often happens.

“I find the ordering process so easy. It's like my head has all these compartments and they all just slot together!”

Since opening Hello Darling seven years ago, Chapman has loved the challenge of deciding what to stock, what trends will rise and what will carry through from past seasons. The boutique’s stocked brands are predominantly New Zealand made. Quality fabrics and ethical practices see a lot of different people taking part in each process of a garment, and each person needs to be paid properly for that process. Chapman has always cared about where brands source their fabrics and packaging and about the makers of those products. She finds this matters as much to her customers as it does to her. This shapes the store's price range as mostly mid to high, though Chapman tries to have affordable styles too. 

Industry change has seen Chapman favour smaller collection drops throughout the year. The Silverdale boutique finds the Auckland weather influential on its products and that customers like to see new things regularly.

“We don’t get very cold, clothes can be worn all year round and layered. I think smaller drops are better for budgeting and keeping things fresh instore.”

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Chapman has been more cautious in her approach to buying. The pandemic’s lockdowns and restrictions have shaped trends and seen a rise in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing such as activewear and tracksuits. 

“I think this is temporary, and a bit sad. This will slowly change as we start travelling again and going out.”

Last Christmas, the boutique saw a real trend for casual clothing as opposed to event clothing. For the first time, Hello Darling were left with beautiful pieces to put on the sale rack.

“It won’t be long before everyone needs those special dresses again. I think we have forgotten how clothing can make us feel in the last couple of years, how it can lift our spirits and change our outlook on the day. I truly hope this feeling returns soon and we all remember how to dress.”   

Excited for the coming season, Chapman has her first shipment of a gorgeous local brand called Minaforher, and Australian brand Blanca coming soon to the store. She believes so much joy can be found in a store full of gorgeousness and that shopping should always be a beautiful experience. She hopes Hello Darling gives that experience to each and every customer.

If you are a New Zealand or Australian designer keen to join the Hello Darling portfolio, contact Clare Chapman at