Nicola Reindorf, The Standard Store

This Australian Boutique has a unique insight into the industry, as lead buyer Nicola Reindorf explained. “We had a distribution agency 10 years before we decided to move into retail, so we have a great insight into how other buyers worked, from large department stores to little boutiques.” This understanding and experience were priceless for the company, who have outlets in the heart of both Melbourne and Sydney, fashion capitals for the country.

When it comes to buying, Reindorf expressed her store’s commitment to providing its customers with unique fashion experience. “We are always on the search for something new and unique, particularly brands that have little exposure in Australia.” The Standard Store’s customers have a great variation as the boutique specialises in both men’s and women’s wear and has a variety of ages coming through their doors. “Our customer could be anyone who appreciates good quality, unique pieces. When looking for new designers, what is essential to Reindorf is not their reputation or existing reach but unique beauty and impeccable quality. “What stands out for us is a brand with a point of a difference yet being still commercially viable. Good quality is a must, nothing mass-produced,” she explained. “Like our customer base, our designer portfolio is very broad. We have quite a few different styles going on but with one recurring theme: Beautiful, well-made pieces.”

The price point of selected brands is also a central feature for this retailer, as they are conscious of retaining the attention of their customers. “We are mid-range, it’s important that you have some good entry price points we don’t want to alienate our customers. But as we deal with foreign currency, it is very dependent on our dollar, which unfortunately is not as strong as it was a few years ago,” related Reindorf. However, a good price point is not to be confused with adhering to the throwaway fashion trend, as The Standard Store’s consumers do not adhere to the fad. “It is amazing how savvy and environmentally aware the young consumer has become; they would prefer to buy one good piece that will stand the test of time rather than lots of cheap throwaway pieces that damage the environment.”

For Reindorf, one of the keys to their boutique’s success is in the quality of the designers they stock, and this belief in quality over quantity has extended from their collections to their operations. “Retail is a tough business, and there is always this expectation that you need to expand to be successful. We opened our third store in Barangaroo in 2017, and it was a disaster. We promptly closed it in 2018,” she shared. “Bigger is not necessarily better.” Adapting to your market is a skill Reindorf and her team have been greatly focused on, and their method of buying reflects this adaptability. “We have two large drops a year and then a further two smaller drops for pre-collections. Most of the designers we stock are from overseas with reverse seasons,” informed Reindorf. However, rather than attempting to combat this seemingly reverse order, the store has embraced the difference and simply allocates costs differently. “We are finding that we are spending more on pre-collections and less on main as its more relevant for our climate.”

For brand’s looking to The Standard Store for potential retail opportunities, Reindorf was able to provide some firm advice. “Approach retailers with professionalism, don’t just walk in off the street,” she insisted. “We are inundated with emails every week from designers and to be honest I delete most of them without reading them. You have to go above and beyond to get an appointment, that shows commitment to what you are doing. Don’t just rely on emails; make a personal connection.”