Meet the Buyer: Iris and Iris, Flo & Frankie

Iris and Iris are the Homeware & Accessories and Fashion Buyers for Flo & Frankie, the fashion and homewares boutique.

Flo & Frankie is passionate about supporting local and small businesses, as well as stocking favourite brands from around the globe. More than just a store, the business has a mission to bring together the best of fashion and lifestyle products. No small feat - but Iris and Iris are up for the job.


Homeware & Accessories

Iris Tomaš has worked across a range of roles, both in and out of the fashion industry. Before starting at Flo & Frankie, she had three years experience as a homewares and accessories buyer, gaining experience in retail, sales and marketing. 

“These experiences allowed me to gain a well-rounded understanding of consumer buying behaviour, and have heavily influenced my buying decisions.”

In her approach to buying at Flo & Frankie, Tomaš loves products that are made with top quality materials or ingredients, and add value and functionality to the home, or everyday lives. She also looks for a certain aesthetic, to fit the store’s essence. At Flo, the team love organic shapes, textures, and fragrances. Flo & Frankie’s collection of homewares and accessories are inspired by travel, as well as the talented creatives who make the gorgeous products here in New Zealand. For Iris, personally, it is important that the brands Flo & Frankie support do good for the world we live in, so that customers can know they are supporting a range of incredible businesses that genuinely care for the planet. This is something all stocked brands have in common.

Sustainability is a value that the team Flo & Frankie hold very close to their hearts. 

“It is a key component of my decision-making during the buying process.”

Brand stories and company ethics are important at Flo, and to Iris, because they tie together the product and the heart of the business. Specifically in homeware and accessories, Iris will look for products that sit within a specific store colour scheme and are able to be merchandised beautifully in store. Neutrals in all shapes and forms of Scandi-Rustic design are the usual go-to. 

For homeware, footwear and accessories, Flo & Frankie offer a mid-price range, with the exception of a few very special pieces reaching further into the high-end range. Due to the nature of stocking locally made New Zealand brands that offer sustainably sourced organic, natural ingredients, a premium price can be expected compared to mass department store competitors.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Tomaš found the team were able to buy through online video-conference showroom tours, and would wait for samples to arrive physically to view. The pandemic has changed her view on the necessity of flying overseas to view products in person. 

“E-commerce has also improved so much over the last few years, making it easier to gain an understanding of products digitally too. There is really no need to fly overseas to view products in person, which is also kinder on our planet.”


Fashion

Iris Flitterman studied Fashion Business and Buying in Paris before moving to New Zealand in 2017. During her time in Paris, she worked as Assistant Buyer at Iro, and in product development for Maje. Starting at Flo & Frankie in 2019, Flitterman already had in-depth knowledge of the fashion industry, but needed to learn specifically about New Zealand and Australian fashion on the job. 

When looking at designers to stock in store at Flo & Frankie, brand story, quality, style, environmental impact and views on sustainability stand out to Flitterman. When curating a portfolio of different designers, she tries to picture them all in store together. Drawing from her retail experience, Flitterman pays a lot of attention to the visual merchandising of the boutiques. The selected brands should work harmoniously, either with a colour story or by telling a common fashion theme. 

With such a wonderful variety of customers visiting Flo & Frankie stores, Flitterman tries to stock something for everyone. 

“Whether you’re looking for a dress to celebrate your birthday, pieces for your workwear wardrobe, or need a new loungewear weekend outfit to wear while hanging out with your children – we try to have something for everyone and every occasion.”

Flo sells clothing that is made to be loved and kept. Catering for a wide range of customers, Flitterman usually works with small capsules, rather than large drops. The boutiques follow seasonal trends, colours, shapes and fabrics, but stick to timeless and classic wardrobe staples too. Styles that the team really believe in, and know the majority of customers will love and adore, are stocked in larger volumes. “We believe in beautiful pieces that can be worn over and over again, whether they’re ‘on-trend’ or not – when our customers purchase from us they're purchasing to love and wear their items for a long time to come.”

The boutiques aim to be as inclusive as possible by offering high quality fashion across a range of price points. The price range of Flo & Frankie’s fashion collections vary from affordable streetwear styles to more high-end designer prices. 

Flitterman’s advice to designers looking to be stocked in unique retailers is to stay true to themselves, and their brand story. 

“Keep an eye on what’s going on in the fashion world, and work towards doing your best at respecting the environment.”

Sustainability affects Flittermans buying process. She will always favour a brand that works hard to improve its business practices by reducing its environmental impact, improving the livelihood of employees in its supply chain, or by giving back to the community around them. 

A lot of our footprint is down to each supplier's commitment to the planet and people – so we’re well aware that to a certain degree we’re in a unique position to help positively influence other brands.”

The Covid-19 pandemic affected Flitterman’s buying process greatly. Lockdowns saw an increased demand for casual looks and loungewear, followed by demand for dressy fashion as the world reopened and people were ready to go out and socialise. 

Everything was changing every few months, and I would say that has made me more aware and more reactive to meeting a constantly changing demand.”

In the next few months, Flitterman is excited for all the fun colours arriving in store. A positive outcome post-pandemic is people’s readiness to bring a bit of energy to what they wear.

The fashion this year is probably the most ‘fun’ I’ve seen in years, and it’s so good to see!”


Since Flo & Frankie opened its doors in 2013, the team has noticed an amazing growth in customers’ awareness of sustainability. There is an increasing demand for a more sustainable fashion offering, that the buyers do their best to meet. A large proportion of the brands now stocked have initiatives or processes in place focussing on reducing their impact on the environment. Flo & Frankie are able to combine the best of fashion and lifestyle products with helping others at home in New Zealand and further afield through their social and environmental initiatives like Flo Gives Back. 

Shop, and read more about Flo & Frankie’s environmental responsibilities at floandfrankie.com


Are you a New Zealand or Australian designer keen to join the Flo & Frankie portfolio?

Contact Iris Tomaš for homewares and accessories at irisT@floandfrankie.com

For everything fashion, contact Iris Flitterman at irisF@floandfrankie.com