Rebe Burgess, Muse

Rebe Burgess has been at MUSE for five years, working closely alongside owner Olivia Vincent. Through Vincent, Burgess has learned about the ins and outs of buying, now regularly travelling to Paris and New York Fashion weeks where their brands show. “I absolutely adore buying for MUSE,” Burgess said. “Dream job.”

MUSE goes beyond clothing, Burgess explained. “MUSE prides itself on service and the close relationships we have with our amazing clients.” Not only this, but MUSE puts a great deal of effort into their showcases and the products that they stock. “Our wonderful merchandiser Kelsey is a magician, ensuring that our boutiques are always looking fresh and that each piece is showcased beautifully. As mentioned before, we have such strong relationships with our clients and can often give feedback straight from the customer to the designer who gives the designer great insight as to what is and isn’t working in the store.”

MUSE handpicks collections, something that is designed to fit every type of customer. When looking at designers, MUSE follows quite a specific process. “We tend to focus more on the range and individual garments rather than the designers themselves. Everyone has their off and peal seasons, and we adjust our buy accordingly.” Seasonally, MUSE tries to keep up with our northern hemisphere counterparts, something that Burgess said can be tricky sometimes. Having said that, Burgess said that MUSE leans towards timeless classics, as this is what she believes their clientele prioritise. “Our clients are very conscious consumers, so it’s important that we know as much as we can about what fabrics the designers are using, as well as where the product is made.”

Burgess suggested that designers looking to get stocked should focus on quality, consistency and finesse. MUSE, for instance, don’t like to limit their offerings, so there is always a spot for a piece that blends timeless classic with modern style. “The designers we stock continue to impress us season after season with their new and innovative designs and use of colour. We like to keep things interesting.” Although being unique is important, so too, is sustainability. “Our clients have become more conscious around where the product is made and what practises the designers have in place around ethics, sustainability and reducing their impact on the environment. Often we will only bring on one of each size in some styles to ensure we do our part, too.”

Over the years, Burgess has noticed a change in the way that people are open to trying new things—something that designers are looking to meet, as well. “I think that New Zealand, in general, has become less conservative in their sense of style, and that’s great.”

Looking ahead, Burgess believes that accessorising is something that she is looking forward to. “We have a couple of new accessory labels set to hit stores pre-summer—bags, footwear, hats, jewellery, eyewear. I think layering chunky gold jewellery is going to be a favourite of mine. Also, I’m very excited about the arrival of one super chic black dress that has fringe detailing in November.”

“We are always looking to expand,” explained Burgess. “We’ve recently opened our Ponsonby Boutique, and relaunched MUSE online. We are onto our fourth season of MUSE cashmere and are constantly updating our brand list and working with new designers. MUSE has grown so much in the five years I’ve been working here—so excited to see what the next five years bring.”