Fiona is General Manger for Christy and teamed with Visual Merchandiser Amanda they are responsible for sourcing home accessories for the new concept Flagship Store in Chester. They have just attended luxury home exhibition Maison & Oject in Paris and we thought we would fire a few questions at them to find out what goes on behind the scenes.
Q. Since the opening of the Flagship store in Chester do you buy products to specifically fit the stores theme?
AT: The great thing about Chester is the store itself and the way we visual merchandised it means it’s a great canvas for different tastes and styles but ultimately everything comes back to the core Christy values.
FM: The shop is in a historic building that we have had to be very respectful of when we created the fit. It’s a beautiful way of demonstrating how a classic building can work with an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary home accessories.
Q. Is there a lot of research before hand?
AT: There’s a lot of consideration for on season trends and colours that are forecast to be a big hit but a favourite place to start is looking in my favourite home magazines and blogs.
FM: There’s always a lot of research and we work very closely with the design team at Christy HQ to make sure the end result is a collection that is inspiring and well thought out.
Q. What is your favourite home accessory that you have ever bought?
AT: Vintage railway lanterns that we found in reclamation yard in Shrewsbury. They can be used anywhere and look great as a centre piece with little tea lights.
You can never have too many gorgeous things though, can you?
FM: I really love tins and coloured glass, things with a vintage twist.
AT: She is tin mad, she drives me mad with her tins.
Q. Being a buyer sounds like the most amazing shopping trip ever. Most of us would have difficulty knowing when to stop, how do you know when to hit the brakes?
AT: You don’t. She (nodding at Fiona) stops me.
FM: Fiona rolls her eyes and agrees. I have to bring her back to reality.
AT: Fiona’s the breaks. As a seasoned shopaholic I don’t actually know when to stop you should see my shoe collection.
Q. Paris, New York the life of a buyer appears very glamorous, but make us feel better what’s your most un-glamorous experience?
AT: Think summer in Paris, white linen, stopping for a quick coffee at an outdoor cafe in San Michele. Hair and makeup perfect…then think rain like the world is going to end and a ten minute mad dash back to the hotel which we had already checked out of via a streets stall selling matching luminous pink plastic mac in a bag raincoat.
FM: This ended with us in the toilets of the hotel trying to dig clean outfits out of our already packed suitcases and drying our hair under the hand dryer not very chic.
I also find that when you think of Paris you think of strolling along the Seine with a Hermes bag not a wheelie trolley suitcase full of brochures and samples marching around an exhibition hall at 100 miles per hour!
Q. And finally do you travel light?
AT I do she doesn’t (gesturing at Fiona with a cheeky grin). I’m all about the capsule collection we can’t even lift Fiona’s off the conveyor belt at the airport. How many shoes did you take this time…?
Fiona looks up to the right and starts a mental count…Amanda interjects before she gets to the total.
5 is the answer, 5 pairs for three nights.
FM: It’s not just full of clothes and shoes I have to take all of the brochures and samples etc. But looks a bit sheepish.