28 May 2024

Insights from an independent fashion retail buyer: Q&A with Deryane Tadd

Deryane Tadd, a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, has been a driving force in the retail fashion industry for over 30 years. Starting on the shop floor and progressing through various roles in store management, she founded The Dressing Room in 2005. With six Drapers Awards and regular features in top boutiques lists, Deryane personally curates over 100 global brands, offering a luxurious shopping experience both in-store and online.


The Pure London x JATC content team recently caught up with one of our advisory group members, Deryane. For expert insights from a leading independent fashion retailer, look no further:


                                                            Deryane TDR                                                              


Q: What led you to open The Dressing Room, an independent fashion boutique? Can you share your experience with us? 


A: I left school at 16 without pursuing further education. Following a few years of working abroad, I started my retail career on the shopfloor aged 20 and progressed to store management and then on to buying and operations.

I had a great mentor and boss at a chain of French Connection Franchises and after 7 years running 5 franchise stores, I decided it was time to go at it alone and start my own retail venture.  That is when the idea for The Dressing Room was born.

Securing funding and premises was incredibly challenging and it took a long time to get from my initial business plan to opening the store. Following a lot of perseverance, I put my house on the line with the bank and I opened The Dressing Room in a small 550sq ft store in a secondary location in May 2005. 18 months later I relocated to a unit 4 times the size on the High Street which is where we are to this day, 19 years on.  

The idea was always to create an environment that housed affordable to aspirational niche brands, encompassing my love for fashion, accessories, footwear and styling all under one roof with a friendly and knowledge team.  The business and brand mix has evolved hugely over the years as you would expect but the core values and ethos remain the same. 


Q: How do you stand out against larger retail chains in customer experience and product offerings?


A: I would say that independent retailing doesn’t really have any comparison to the high street these days. High street chains are now often all about self service and can be fairly soulless environments.  Independent retail is all about service, experience and a product mix that is individual to the business and customer base.

At The Dressing Room, every decision is made with customer in mind.  It’s about personality, individuality and experience. The product mix is unique and edited with my specific customer in mind. We have regular store events and activations that our customers love and I make sure we are always looking to do something new and fresh in terms of customer experience and brand mix to excite and entice our customers.


Q: How do you approach sourcing new products for your store, and what factors do you consider in selecting new suppliers?


A: I am always on the look out for newness that will enhance my product edit. It has to be exciting to me and something that I know will earn its space in the store and online. So first and foremost, it’s about the product but then it’s always good if it’s backed by a great agent or brand representative that supports their stockists.


                 DT1   DT2  


Q: What do you find most valuable about attending fashion trade shows? 


A: Fashion trade shows for me are all about inspiration, creativity overview and experience. I like to get a good overview of the season ahead by attending trade shows and it a great opportunity to catch up with suppliers and meet new ones all under one roof. 


Q: What advice would you offer to someone attending a trade show for the first time to do their next season buying? 


A: Have a good idea of what you are looking for and what gaps you have in your edit.  Trade shows can be quite overwhelming and large, so it’s good to know which areas will be right for you.  Most trade shows are zoned to some degree so there are definitely areas that won’t be right for your mix and some areas that will be. I tend to always have a plan of what I need to achieve, what I am looking for and some pre-booked appointment slots.  

However, always be prepared to be surprised, you might find something amazing that you didn’t know you needed! They are always the best and most exciting finds!


Q: What role does community engagement play in your business, and how do you actively participate in your local community?


A: It’s important to engage with the local community and be part of what is going on locally. At The Dressing Room intends to get involved in any local relevant events and we always run seasonal charity raffles that often support causes in our local area.  In the past I have also been involved with local schools careers days to encourage young people to look at retail as a career option. 


Q: What is making you excited about the independent fashion industry for 2025?


A: Change! I enjoy adapting to change and pivoting when things need a freshen up. I gave my business a big shake up for 2024 and will continue to do so for 2025: adapting and reacting to a changing marketplace.  


Meet the Pure London x JATC Advisory Board members


View all Inside Fashion

Partners and Sponsors