In 2008, Rebecca Kerr opened the doors of Mint Boutique, located just two hours from Christchurch in Fairlie. Kerr is a well-seasoned buyer and prides herself in her ability to cater to a variety of New Zealand women. Mint Boutique has consistently provided its customers with a personal experience. “We are able to talk more about the product in question and have that friendly in-depth knowledge right there and then for the particular customer,” Kerr explained when talking about what sets her boutique apart from the larger department stores. Kerr stated that personal connection to the consumer is especially important in a small town such as Fairlie where customers don’t want to feel as if their exact outfit is worn by every other person in town.
The personalised experience that Kerr offers her customers extends into her pricing as well. “We stock a huge variety of different brands that suit all kinds of budgets, we really have something for everyone,” Kerr elaborated. Her passion for serving consumers from all walks of life has led Mint Boutique to carry varied stock. Kerr has sought to supply everything from high-end pieces to affordable streetwear.
In recent years, high-end brands have increased in popularity thanks to Laybuy programmes which have made the pieces more accessible to consumers. “This has changed the way our customers buy by giving them the choice to purchase garments they normally wouldn’t because of the paying off option,” Kerr noted. Mint Boutique offers not only Laybuy, but also Afterpay and Genoapay. These payment services are another way in which Kerr attempts to meet customers at their price point as opposed to upselling individuals beyond what they can afford.
These services are available on Mint Boutique’s website which is where about 90 percent of Kerr’s sales come from. “Customers like the option of being able to buy from their couch, we have made it easy with simple returns, different payment options, and buying incentives.” Moving forward, Kerr cites this as one area in which she hopes to grow over the next few years. In particular, she hopes to make it more user-friendly, especially on mobile devices.
Another area in which Kerr hopes to grow her business is the sustainability of her purchases. “Sustainability has had a massive effect. We are currently working on ways to become as eco-friendly as possible and do have to work with our suppliers to make this goal possible,” Kerr said. Aside from sustainability, Kerr buys primarily on-trend items. Mint Boutique is always up to date with current trends as well as the seasons and has continually rotating stock in store. “Winter comes around quickly, and before we know it Spring has arrived, and Winter is on sale. Next Minute, summer is here, and Spring is on sale, it’s just an ongoing rotation to keep up,” Kerr relayed. Because of the ever-changing seasons, Kerr buys in medium drops, but if a brand is successful, she is more than happy to restock it.
When asked what she looks for, Kerr said good quality, trending colours, styles and a budget to suit both our buying and the customers' limitations. Kerr recommends travelling to stores and bringing samples for buyers to feel and wear as buying online can only give a limited sense of a product.
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