Fashion re­tailer moves shop on­line

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

It’s the end of an era for a fashion la­bel that’s been cater­ing for the fuller fig­ured woman for 25 years.

The Car­pen­ters Daugh­ter is clos­ing its flag­ship Mt Al­bert Rd store which is also founder Caro­line Marr’s home.

Two of Marr’s three other New Zealand stores are clos­ing too, but the la­bel will con­tinue to be sold on­line.

‘‘I’ve got to recog­nise what is hap­pen­ing in the re­tail world. We’re buy­ing more and more on­line. I’ve got to recog­nise that and get creative with it,’’ Marr says.

In the late 1980s she was a young mother with lit­tle ed­u­ca­tion and work­ing as a store de­tec­tive. She was a size 24 and made all of her own clothes.

‘‘That’s a big girl. Women were com­ing to me while I was a store de­tec­tive lov­ing what I was wear­ing. They wanted my look. I went and re­searched the mar­ket and re­alised that my look wasn’t what was hap­pen­ing.’’

Sewing and mak­ing things was a nor­mal part of life for Marr who was brought up by creative par­ents.

She started her first store in Glen­dene but moved to Mt Al­bert Rd, Royal Oak, soon af­ter.

‘‘I ended up here be­cause I wanted a big­ger house. I brought my fam­ily up here. They’ve gone and they’ve got their own fam­i­lies as well so it’s just get­ting too big and I need to give some­one else the op­por­tu­nity that I took 25 years ago and made a fab­u­lous life from. And, I’m ready for the next 25 years of my life,’’ she says.

There is a much big­ger range of ‘‘big girl’’ clothes avail­able to­day but Marr be­lieves her range of prac­ti­cal, New Zealand-made gar­ments fill a niche.

While the world of re­tail is chang­ing, Marr still en­joys face to face con­tact with cus­tomers and help­ing them de­velop the right look. ‘‘ Buy­ing on­line isn’t al­ways a good idea. What I’m find­ing is women who are com­ing through the door who don’t go into shops and get styled, they’re look­ing re­ally bad.’’

It’s cer­tainly not a trend for shops to close their stores and move on­line, Re­tail New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark John­ston says.

It is in­creas­ingly com­mon for fashion stores that have had only an on­line pres­ence to open phys­i­cal stores.

‘‘Cus­tomers are telling them that they re­ally want that tac­tile ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing in, touch­ing clothes and try­ing them on be­fore they buy.’’

The store’s last day of busi­ness will be in midOc­to­ber.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

New chap­ter: The Car­pen­ters Daugh­ter is in for some changes, founder and man­ag­ing direc­tor Caro­line Marr says.

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