Meet the Buyer: Debbie Lawson, Deval

A glass of bubbles is not unexpected when walking into Deval. Debbie Lawson, Founder of Deval Boutique, ensures a shopping experience quite unlike any other. Her shop is situated in The Precinct, Wanaka, and hopes to give everyone a memorable shopping experience. 

Debbie Lawson came from a sales background rather than a buying one. Before opening Deval she worked for the likes of Keith Matheson, Limited Editions and DFS, learning that fashion is all about quality, not quantity. She also discovered the importance of customer experience, as it is what keeps clients coming back. Now utilising all her customer service and styling skills, Deval offers handpicked outfits and private styling functions to its customers. Most recently hosting a private 50th birthday celebration complete with a fashion show. Lawson is all about her customers. 

There is a huge amount that goes into the Deval buying process, handpicking clothing, shoes and accessories from around the world. Lawson’s close-knit team meet weekly to discuss store plans, allowing them to match any client’s needs. From marketing and store merchandising to pre-planning customer outfits for fittings, Lawson has everything covered. Everyone at Deval loves what they do, and one customer who is now 84, has been a regular with Lawson since she was 18. Lawson believes style is always an option, and age becomes insignificant when you look chic and confident. 

When buying for Deval Boutique, Lawson looks for a point of difference and a designer's unique handprint. She seeks fabrics that are both beautiful, and of high quality because she wants pieces to last. When viewing a range, Lawson knows it is a good one when she can’t help but want all the pieces herself. Deval’s aim is to stock lifestyle clothing with an edge, that tends to be well cut and highlights a person's best features. They are garments that make Lawson’s customers want to keep coming back for more. Typically she does not prescribe a huge amount of colours to her collection, instead, she likes to handpick styles that suit specific customers' tastes and styles. 

Deval stocks garments between $79 and $3999, and she does not get stuck in price traps, only buying what she knows will work. Lawson notes proudly that they have several school girls who have become loyal customers, saving up specifically so they can shop at Deval. 

Lawson's advice to designers is to follow your passion, do your own thing to try and create a style that keeps going from season to season, allowing pieces to be continuously added. With the world beginning to re-open, Lawson is incredibly excited to start travelling again, to be trying things on and discovering more fabulous labels to add to the Deval family.