Brands that I fiercely follow are quite a rare thing. I am not one of those girls who lusts after a range of shops on the block, albeit nor am I one who has a balanced wardrobe. Loyalty (note: not habit) has always been the name of the game with my retailers of choice, and this is for two reasons. The first is price point. I am not someone who can throw too much of my salary at my wardrobe. The second is my line of work, for which my look needs semi-regular updates. As such, it’s unsurprising that my go-to over the years has been Topshop, with the Oxford Circus flagship my mecca for affordable, on-trend pieces. Yes, they might only be a la mode for the week they are dropped, but still my infatuation with the giant runs strong – few others had made my heart flutter to the same extent.
Until there was Atterley.
Atterley (nee: Road, prior to a recent revamp) was a site I stumbled across purely from a research perspective, in preparation for my meeting with it’s new CEO Sally-Anne Newson and Creative Director Becky Leeson. Suffice to say, I had ordered two dresses within five minutes of entering the site; it was love at first click.
Let’s be clear: I don’t buy rashly. Impulse is not my thing, I can’t afford it to be. But Atterley – with the clean, minimalist designs of their own brand exuding cool at a sweet price point – made it so easy. So what goes into such a magic formula, that chemistry that taps into even the pickiest shoppers? I was determined to find out.
The first thing you need to know about Atterley is the team behind it. Headed up by Sally-Anne Newson (ASOS, Ebay) and creatively lead by Becky Leeson (ASOS, Office, Topshop), the relaunch of the site has been pushed through by an impressive force of retail expertise.
“I think retail is in your blood,” Sally-Anne explains. “You either love it or you hate it, but I love it. Where else do you get that immediate gratification of someone buying something that you’ve created or chosen? In all of my roles and all of the brands I’ve worked for, I’ve had a strong focus on the customer, which is so important when building a business and a brand. I really believe if you don’t put the customer and the product at the heart of what you do, you’ll never be successful. Atterley has been a fantastic opportunity for me to build a brand that I can totally relate to. I am our customer … it’s like walking into my ideal walk-in wardrobe everyday!”
“All of my experienced combined has taught me that it’s all about presenting the customer with the product that they want to buy, at the right time,” Becky agrees. “Being able to create product that people will want to wear and feel good in really excites me.”
Getting it right seems to suggest that others are getting it wrong, I prompt. “There is a real gap in the market for a fashion brand, which is aspirational whilst still being accessible and affordable,” says Sally-Anne. “These are key areas of focus for the own-brand and the re-launch. We’ve developed an Atterley own label, which has the right aesthetic, fit and quality that our customers just can’t find anywhere else. Our core purpose is for Atterley to help the style conscious woman look and feel good in every part of her life, combining style and life. We want our customer to feel at home on the site and see a 360 link from this to our Instagram.”
“Our inspiration behind the collection is providing the Atterley customer with pieces which are easy, wearable and work well together,” Becky adds. “I want the own-brand to give a nod to the season but not be completely trend lead. I hope people notice that the collection is all made from quality fabrics with considered attention to the finer details.”
The word customer continues to crop up during our conversation, which I am pleasantly surprised by. So often retailers can forget who they are catering to, too swept up in keeping up with competitors; it’s a refreshing approach.
“It takes a long time to build trust with your customer”, explain Sally-Anne when I voice this, “but you can destroy it in a heartbeat. That being said, at Atterley we’ve found our customers want to engage with us on a level beyond just being a shop and that’s predominantly been through content that inspires her daily style choices. We try to include street style shots, as well as aspirational product focuses and editorial shots on our instagram and site.”
“I believe women’s attitude towards style has changed over the last few seasons,” says Becky. “Women want to be able to buy something that will last for more than one season and is adaptable in her wardrobe and life. My vision for Atterley is to open a wardrobe and see it full of pieces that fit together, where you can wear a good basic a number of ways and where you can match different items to refresh the look. The perfect white shirt will always be key to her wardrobe but it will be updated and worn with a different style of trouser each season.”
I’m at a loss to think of anyone who gets us more…
Photography by David Nyanzi and art direction by Naomi Mdudu