Olivia May, established 2013 is a high-end womenswear boutique offering clothing, footwear & accessories through a range of unique international designers including Rundholz, Crea Concept & Privatsachen along with many Swedish, Italian & French designers.
All designer collections are handpicked to offer our customer an element of unconventional difference through unique niche designs and fabrics from architectural influence to classic tailored looks.
We pride ourselves on knowing our customer base, supported through years of styling private clients and providing the level of service and personable communication they expect and want to feel.
Our focus is to cater for the individual’s wants & needs within the look provided through the perfect personal shopping experience.
We have a store in the heart of Oxford’s bustling café and arts Jericho district, an online ecommerce website shipping UK & Worldwide and a private showroom in the relaxed area of Ashton Hayes, Cheshire.
Our designers are all cherry picked for their unconventional designs and unique style that sets them apart and the right fit for our customer at Olivia May.
We stock Italian, Swedish, French designers to name a few, with different artistic influences which make them unique. The designers include our most sought-after designer Rundholz which is our biggest brand split out into 3 collections, Moyuru, Mama B, Xenia Design and Crea Concept. We are always looking to expand our offering bringing in new collections each season to build on our ranges we offer to you the customer.
Managing Director - Ann Whorrall
What does a typical 'day in the life of' look like?
No day is the same! From setting strategy, reviewing business needs to attending buying shows across Europe to supporting on operational areas and styling new season looks for the web and our customers.
How does Olivia May choose the designers and collections it wants to work with?
A point of difference in terms of style/cut ensuring the fabric quality holds the expression of the design. The quality and wearability are key, they need to be comfortable. We look for a story within the collection - print, colour or trend and that the designers passion comes through. We decipher what works together to make interchangeable outfits and check the reflection of the season before is felt to enable customers to wear past pieces. We always look for personality and strong identity which is true season after season.
Why did you select Oxford to set up the boutique?
Its a cosmopolitan city with many nationalities therefore a good base to bring a select group of international designers. Its an aspired 'city to go out in' with many events, visitor attractions meaning its somewhere to go and get dressed up and a well-known city where customers will travel to.
What have been your biggest challenges, learnings and greatest achievements?
My biggest challenges: letting go! - when it has just been you from the set up at the kitchen table to full 10+ team you have to accept a different role to focus on growth strategy.
My biggest learnings/achievements: Creating a business where people can grow and develop with the right structures and people. They have chosen to work with you and join you on this journey the least you can do is ensure it is exciting, stimulating and rewarding. Building recognition for the brands that offer difference and celebrate individuality in style and look when much of the high street offer is the same the challenge to be different and deliver to it - to actually do it is the greatest achievement!
How do you support the sustainability of the fashion industry?
Sustainability is about making the supply chain fully transparent which we always look for with our designers. We buy in traditional seasons twice a year which removes us from buying mass-produced products on a monthly basis as 'fast fashion' does. We respect the designers' skill, craftsmanship and creativity meaning that a piece cannot be thrown away after one wear or season - quality provides longevity.
We focus on supporting customers in getting the best and most out of their purchases. The focus is about the quality of a piece so that it lasts beyond a season - and when the customer does want to part with their piece is still has life and enough quality to become a vintage piece!
Our mission is to showcase our niche international designers who create the unconventional. Our styling approach has always been to focus on the individual, so items are handpicked to create a completely unique look to give customers a point of difference. This is our priority which we pride ourselves on. Our specialist team have an eye for detail and exceptional customer service to help our customers get the best from their purchases. Our personalised service makes Olivia May so unique and stand-alone from its competitors and has played a huge part in the success over the last 5 years.
As an organisation with ambitions to become a recognisable brand for fashion, quality and service, nationally and worldwide, Our vision is to become a global creative platform of expression for the fashion industry, with the customer at the heart. This aids our strategies that support our ambitions and help us to achieve and sustain profitable growth in an ever-changing industry.