Issue #5 SUKII BOUTIQUE
We chat with Stacey Hunter, about her store SUKii ~ a boutique dedicated to quality and timeless pieces that are made to last.
LET'S TALK SUKII
For people who don’t know Queenscliff, can you explain what kind of town it is? What brings people to Queenscliff?
Queenscliff is a beautiful small coastal town located on the Bellarine Peninsula in Southern Victoria, Australia. It's right next to Point Lonsdale and just a short ferry ride to Sorrento. It's a popular destination for Melbournians to come to escape and recharge.
We know why we love visiting your store – but why do you think your customers love coming into SUKii Boutique? What makes it so special?
Over the years SUKii has become a destination. We offer a point of difference, high quality products and great customer service. We specialise in exclusivity – people come to us for something unique.
SUKii is the only stockist of selected labels for Geelong and the Surf Coast and the only stockist in Australia for some of our more luxurious labels.
I think our clients love coming into SUKii for a few reasons. They like to shop small, and understand that we specialise in quality. And, they enjoy my honesty! I have a saying 'If in doubt, leave it out'. I want our clients to purchase items they will enjoy wearing year after year.
But most of all, I think our clients like visiting SUKii because I have a relationship with most of them. Some I only see once a year, as they live overseas and come to Queenscliff & Point Lonsdale for the Christmas holidays. Others, I see weekly or monthly – I can honestly say the best part of SUKii is our clients as SUKii would not exist without them.
Why did you decide to open your business?
It all happened really quickly, I moved to Point Lonsdale with my husband and really wanted to work close to home. I have always worked within the fashion industry and knew there was a gap in the market so I decided to open a shop and have never looked back.
What tips would you give a person if they were planning to start a business?
Be passionate about what you want to do, this will motivate you! Take the time to do a business plan. Hire your weaknesses. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t do it alone, have a support network to bounce ideas off, and who will listen sympathetically when you need them. And, most of all, have fun & make sure you have a work/life balance.
LET'S TALK QUALITY
What is SUKii renowned for?
Investment fashion, quality, style and offering a point of difference.
Tell us more about this commitment to quality garments?
We have all experienced spending a lot of money on a garment, only to be let down by the quality. I do everything I can to make sure that this doesn't happen at SUKii. I'm a big believer in buy better, buy less.
Our clients know that SUKii doesn't really go on sale, because the quality is there and the styles will never date.In the end it all comes down to education. We educate our clients about our brands and values. When purchasing an item, they have the confidence that it's going to last, they know why it's that price, how it's made and how to care for it.
What is your understanding of Slow Fashion?
Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better. Slow fashion is not time based, but rather, quality based. It focuses on slowing down consumerism and respecting the environment and ethics. It promotes a more ethical and sustainable way of living and consuming. Slow fashion is about a relationship with fashion, one where seasons and trends don't matter.
Why is it so important to you to stock quality garments as opposed to fast-fashion?
We want an item to last, it's as simple as that. Plus, our clients don't want to see 20 women down the street wearing the same thing as them – our quality labels don't mass produce.
Why should your customers care about choosing quality over quantity?
Because you don't need 100 items in your wardrobe to have options! Choose to invest in key pieces that you can dress up and down, and wear season to season. It eliminates the need for excess spending and actually makes getting ready in the morning a much faster process. Buy better, buy less – it's simple.
Have you seen a shift in consumer buying trends?
I can only tell you what's happening in our boutique, but I do believe the clientele that we have only want to buy quality items now.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of running a boutique dedicated to this ethos?
For a few years I had to justify our prices to customers. Now I don't have to because SUKii has the reputation for quality and people know what to expect.
I would have never thought our best selling item would be $1000, but women now see the value in it and even come back for another colour. I am very grateful to have such an amazing clientele.
LET'S GET PERSONAL
What influences your purchasing choices for your store?
For the first few years, I purchased what I thought the consumer wanted. Now, I only buy what I like and that's taken SUKii to the next level. I look for timeless pieces that our clients can continue to wear year after year – anything you can dress up and down. I have never really followed trends – trends come and go, but style is forever.
We’re all about the power of a great outfit – what are your go-to pieces that make you feel ready to tackle the day?
During winter I live in our Luxe leather pants! Paired with a fabulous Mia Fratino knit, structured blazer and either my Jimmy sneakers or black boots.
Do you have an all-time favourite MIA knit?
Yes! The Mia Bobble knit we had 3 years ago – it's so good that I actually have two. Another go-to is our Mia Daisy Cropped Pullover in Jade. This was my first possum blended jumper and it's changed my life. It's so cosy and warm.