updated 29 Dec 2011, 14:48
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Wed, Jun 09, 2010
The Business Times
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No risk, no gain
by Melissa Lwee

BY opening a shop barely a year after its launch, one might think that fashion designers Afton Chen, Ruth Marbun and Louis Koh might just be taking their label name, Reckless Ericka, a little too literally.

 'It is a big step for us,' admits Koh of their decision to open the 600 sq ft boutique - unsurprisingly named The Reckless Shop at Stamford house which soft launches today.

'Of course, we have considered that by doing this so early in the game that we might be taking on more than we can chew, but the space came up and we made it a point not to sign too long a lease; so we thought we would give it a shot and see how it goes.'

Prior to this venture, Reckless Ericka has been doing well through its online sales and via local multi label boutiques Blackmarket and To the Nines. Coupled with great press reviews and a successful week long pop-up store in January, the trio was convinced that perhaps opening their own standalone boutique was the right step forward.

'Before we decided to open the shop, one of the things that we felt we were lacking in our business model was the ability to interact with our customers,' reveals Chen. 'When you're a rack in a boutique or selling online it's more difficult to gain feedback which we felt was necessary for us to grow as a label.'

Plus, she adds, they could take comfort in the fact that this move is really just an extension of their current business practice. 'The boutiques don't stock our entire collection which can only be found online. And because customers like to try on the clothes before actually buying, many of them have been writing to us to see if they can visit our studio to shop instead,' says Chen. 'So in reality, all we're doing is moving the shopping from our studio to a proper boutique.'

As a 'safety precaution', the trio has also made the prudent decision to launch ODDS by Reckless Ericka - a diffusion womenswear line of jersey pieces with accessible prices ranging from $39 to $99 (as compared to the mainline which costs $99 to $599), together with the shop. This, they reveal, is so that they can cater to a wider clientele, making the shop more competitive in the process.

'There are a lot of people we know who are students and cannot afford to buy the clothing from our main line,' reveals Marbun. 'We're hoping to be able to cater to them through ODDS. And hopefully, in the future they would grow with us and progress towards buying from our main line.'

This article was first published in The Business Times.

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