Wednesday, October 18, 2017

5 Minutes With Olivia Cantillon, Co-founder, OwnTheLook.com

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OwnTheLook.com

Launching in early March, OwnTheLook.com is poised to become the first home grown editorial styling and multi-brand online retailer offering customers a destination to experiment with emerging and established labels to create one-off looks.

OwnTheLook.com introduces over 40 contemporary labels from around the world, ranging from ready-to-wear, swimwear, accessories and jewellery, to offer directional trend-led fashion.

Inviting industry insiders to style the latest key trends, each curated outfit will provide advice on how to wear the trend with a unique two-click option to ‘owning the look‘ – customers will be able to purchase the model‘s entire outfit, as well as the option to buy each piece individually.

Ahead of its launch, the Retail Gazette caught up with co-founder Olivia Cantillon to find out more about OwnTheLook.com


Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before OwnTheLook.com.

Over the last seven years I‘ve been working in fashion journalism as a stylist and editor both in the UK and the Middle East.

I‘ve always strived to work for a variety of titles to broaden my skillset, but two definite career highlights for me would be my time as the Fashion Editor of HELLO! magazine Middle East and working as MOJEH magazine‘s in-house stylist.

I learnt everything I know going through the fashion ranks at Star magazine in the UK, but my styling opportunities really grew when I moved to the Middle East and I got to work with not only emerging designers, but luxury labels like Dior and Chanel.

What got you into the retail sector in the first place?  

It was always a long-term goal of mine to break into the retail sector and after my return home from the Middle East, I decided now was a good a time as any to take that leap.

Digital and ecommerce is continually evolving and I wanted to become a part of the evolution. It was finding a way to transfer my skillset in styling to a retail nature that encouraged my switch in sector.

Describe your responsibilities as OwnTheLook.com‘s co-founder.

I oversee every detail, but my main responsibilities are on the creative side of the business and I focus on the sourcing, buying and styling of the looks.

My season begins with lots of travelling to attend the global tradeshows which include buying trips to New York, Las Vegas, Madrid, Copenhagen and Paris.

From there, I‘ll select Own The Look‘s buy and will see this all the way through to site, which includes the styling and shooting of the looks.

How has your previous experience aided your current job?

Putting outfits together, sourcing up-and-coming brands and being aware of trends were part of my everyday role as an editor, so this experience was crucial in the build of Ownthelook.com.

Without this time learning my craft and knowing what worked and what didn‘t work would have made this venture near impossible. I used this knowledge and faith in my eye to start the business.

Can you explain the inspiration behind OwnTheLook.com?

I wanted somewhere to shop that targeted me as a consumer and all of the other fashion-crazed girls that had surrounded me my whole career. I saw a gap in the market for a one-stop-shop that not only delivered brands that hadn‘t broken into the UK market yet, but that also made outfit dressing its focus.

What exactly do you mean when you describe OwnTheLook.com as the “UK‘s first editorial styling and multi-brand shopping platform”?

We strive to provide a selected edit of the world‘s most coveted and unidentified brands, brought together in one place to create a clear ‘own the look‘ aesthetic.

The product is styled into editorially-led multi-branded looks, with a view to challenge traditional styling guides and target a trend-led, forward thinking shopper.

Our consumers will be able to purchase the full look in two quick clicks, or deconstruct the outfit and bag what‘s needed. We describe the brand as a styling platform as we provide tips and tricks on how to wear each look along with an “Ask A Stylist” feature.


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What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging aspect of my job is ensuring that the brands we‘re buying into and the looks we‘re providing is exactly what our customer wants from us.

It‘s so important for me to remain in tune with our shoppers and to deliver season after season of the right product, styled the right way.

What is the most rewarding?

The most rewarding aspect of my job will be to see our consumers buy into our concept; to really embrace the ‘own the look‘ movement and to purchase full looks instead of individual items.

I hope to see our girls come to us for advice on what to wear and how to wear and to see us as a styling guide for everyday dressing.

Can you talk about any upcoming projects?

We‘re right in the middle of our autumn/winter 2017 buy at the moment, but we‘ve had some exciting news from a few of our brands that want to create one-off collections, exclusive to Ownthelook.com.

This is an area I‘m really looking to develop along with the style advice element on site.

What advice would you give someone who is considering embarking on a career in retail?  

Be passionate, willing to learn and don‘t be afraid of making mistakes.

I‘m a firm believer of the saying “find a job you love and you‘ll never work a day in your life” and the driving force behind my business is the passion that I have for it. That combined with open ears and the acceptance that mistakes will happen is a good grounding for what‘s to come.

What would you say is the biggest risk for the retail sector, given the current climate?  

The biggest immediate risk is the plummet in the pound‘s value which has added circa 20 per cent cost on all goods being imported from the US and the euro zone. And now the uncertainty of what new duty could be applied for stock coming from mainland Europe post-Article 50‘s conclusion in 2019.

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