4 reasons to shop at Sollo London boutique
- Credit: Sollo London
While many of the big chain stores continue to face challenges in the wake of the pandemic, small and independent retailers have been breathing life back into the high street.
Marlla Church, fashion designer and owner of Sollo London boutique in Reigate, Surrey, believes that it’s the unique shopping experience offered by small businesses that is the key to success.
“Reigate is home to many independent shops and cafés which attracts people from all over Surrey,” she says. “Shoppers are now looking for a more personalised experience, where they can spend time choosing high-quality pieces that they have a connection with rather than buying on impulse.”
Here, Marlla shares four reasons to shop at an independent business and how her boutique-come-café is helping to bring the local community together.
1) Unique, one-off pieces
Unlike most big fashion chains, boutiques have a curated selection of one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories that you can’t get elsewhere. Marlla takes great pride in hand-picking all of the items in Sollo London, using her experience as a fashion designer to find timeless pieces that are adaptable to any wardrobe and season.
“I do extensive research to find the best brands from the UK, Europe and Australia that match our demographic and offer something a bit different,” she says. “A lot of thought goes into each item I choose so that my customers go home with something special, whether it’s a chunky knit cardigan or a beautiful necklace.”
2) Higher quality products that last longer
It’s impossible to ignore the environmental impact of fast-fashion, and one of the benefits of shopping at an independent boutique is that there is greater quality control over the products sold.
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“At a smaller shop, you can really think about what you’re spending your money on, and our customers know that they’re getting quality pieces that will stay in their wardrobes for longer,” says Marlla.
“I make sure that the brands I work with are high quality and the labels include information about where the clothes come from and how the fabrics are sourced,” she adds.
3) A personalised shopping experience
As fashion designers who are passionate about retail, the team at Sollo London are able to provide a more tailored and individual shopping experience for their customers. “Most people aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for when they go shopping, and in the big stores there’s usually no one there to help you so you end up leaving with something that’s not quite right,” says Marlla.
“Smaller shops are much more personal – I love chatting with my customers, finding out what their style is and helping them pick the perfect piece of clothing or accessory.”
4) A community feeling
In 2020 following the first lockdown, Marlla and the team decided to open a backyard café behind the boutique to provide a multi-functional venue for the local community. The Barn at Sollo, which is open all week, is a tranquil indoor-outdoor space serving fresh coffee and cakes.
The venue is also available to hire for intimate gatherings such as birthdays, bridal showers and yoga classes, as well as for special events in collaboration with other local businesses. “We wanted to create a relaxing, sociable experience for customers where they can meet up with friends to shop and have a coffee,” says Marlla.
“You don’t get many boutiques with cafés on the UK high street as you do in other countries like Italy and Spain – so we’re trying to bring that feeling of a community hub here to Surrey. I believe these little magical spaces that bring people together are something really unique and special.”
Sollo London, 53A High Street, Reigate, Surrey.