Taking on an established business can be a daunting task, but Muse owner Olivia Vincent has made her passion her livelihood and eight months later still lives for every day. “After living in Europe for three years and discovering so many labels, I knew that there was a gap in the market locally. As a country, our taste in fashion and interest in style is developing quickly,” said Vincent.
Situated in the booming fashion district of Newmarket, Muse boutique on Teed Street is nestled in amongst brands including Fabric, Zambezi, Edit, Kate Sylvester, Seletti and Workshop.
“Some might assume this means competition, but we’ve all got a different vibe and customer base so it’s a positive thing, especially for foot traffic.”
Vinvent’s previous experience at Showroom 22 helped equip her for the business, having already developed a skill set for event management, client communication, press and people-management.
“I was the Showroom manager and in hindsight, this was a brilliant education for running a retail store and building a boutique brand.”
Vincent’s partner’s mother, Madeline Healy owned the Muse store with her friend Jo Gould, so when Vincent heard they were selling, she jumped at the opportunity.
“One evening they invited me out for a drink and told me that they were thinking of selling. The following day I resigned from Showroom 22 and bought the business, it all happened incredibly fast but felt like the right thing to do.”
The store exclusively carries Diane Von Furstenberg, Elizabeth and James, Missoni, Tibi, Theory, Autumn Cashmere, Rebecca Taylor and Derek Lam, with new additions including Ellery, Christopher Esber, Georgia Alice, Self Portrait and Heidi Klien Swimwear.
“Many of my customers have been shopping here since the beginning of Muse, and it’s great to now see younger generations shopping with us and showing the same appreciation. They love Georgia Alice, Anine Bing and Celine Eyewear.”
Vincent’s time at Showroom 22 didn’t prepare her for the book of a business however, having to learn on the go with the help of her number loving mother.
“She helps me stay organised and works on the accounting side of things as my passions are styling and selling.”
The key to a successful retail store is knowing your customer, and Vincent has had nothing but success. She prides herself on great customer service, helping women find beautiful clothing that they will wear countless times.
“I also enjoy pushing women out of their comfort zone and getting them into garments they wouldn’t usually wear. Sometimes we can get stuck in a style rut, restricting our choices in the process.”
Pushing her own comfort zone, Vincent hopes to open a store in the South Island, having already established a strong client base in both Queenstown and Christchurch.