On the blog today, a different kind of post. A wee interview with the owner of Hibiscus Flower, an ethical and sustainable clothing shop in Edinburgh.
It is a lovely, welcoming shop, and has introduced me to some new brands along with allowing me to try on some of the People Tree items that I adore – although I enjoy online shopping there is something about trying items on that still appeals. Hibiscus Flower always feels carefully stocked to me and there is inevitably a few items I try on, combine that with the beautiful jewellery she stocks and it is dangerous!
Can you tell the shop is a favourite of mine? I have to ration my visits as I rarely leave without something. If you are ever in Edinburgh I highly recommend a visit, it is the pretty Stockbridge area of the city – a hefty hill to climb to get back into the city centre though but it is Edinburgh and there is usually a hill to climb 🙂 Over to the lovely Sarah Burns.
- Can you tell us a little about the shop?
- Hibiscus Flower is a boutique specialising in Fair Trade and ethically sourced ladies clothes and accessories- we stock well known brands like Komodo and People Tree but also some lesser known brands like Aura Que and Sketch.
- Did you decide to stock only ethical and sustainable brands from the outset? If so why?
- Yes- After taking part in a voluntary project in Tanzania i became much more interested in Fair Trade and working conditions. At that time I had a regular job but trying to find clothes was very difficult and I had to mainly shop online and finding work appropriate clothes was particularly difficult- I thought it would be great to have a shop that just sold fair trade and ethical clothing- a couple years down the line I was made redundant and it was the opportunity to go ahead and open the shop!
- Do you have a particular type of customer in mind when buying and if you do what are they like?
- I do think about the type of customer when buying and now that we have regulars I like to think about what they like whether it be the fabric or a particular style- for example our customers like sleeves and pockets on dresses so when I see dresses like this I will pick them! However there isn’t a typical Hibiscus Flower customer- which gives great breadth to stock gorgeous pieces and not stick to one look!
- Have you seen any changes in the brands you stock over the years?
- All the brands have changed I think they have developed their look-Fair Trade fashion did have a bad name too hippyish a bit studenty and I think that a lot of the clothes have become a bit sleeker and more wearable. There are also lots more work appropriate clothes and there are also more modern fabrics being used like tencel, hemp and bamboo as brands try to move away from cotton.
- How much does your personal style influence your buying?
- Well I don’t know if I have a particular style- I am a bit of a chameleon sometimes I like to look smart in a dress other times I just want to wear jeans and a t-shirt- however I do tend to pick things I like and I definitely have picked brands to stock because I have coveted things from their collections. I try to buy things that I like as I don’t think you can sell things that you don’t!
- Do you have any particular favourite ethical brands?
- People Tree is probably my favourite and was prior to opening the shop- partly because they are the pioneer of Fair Trade Fashion and their whole ethos is to put the suppliers and artisans that produce their clothes at the fore, but I love all the brands that I stock and have made loads of great discoveries of brands since having the shop like Sketch and Rapanui! We don’t stock them but I also love Monkee Genes and Toms shoes!
- Is there a particular item that you love from the Autumn/Winter ranges you are stocking?
- There are a lot of amazing pieces this season and I already have a a gorgeous dress from Skunk Funk with a digital iris print, from People Tree I have got some great woven tops including a cute spotty shirt that will be great dressed up or down.
Their website is at http://www.hibiscusflower.co.uk/
I aim to do a wee series of posts on businesses and places that I like in Edinburgh, let me know if there is any particular kind of places that you would like to hear about.