Press: The Chronicle & Echo May '24

Press: The Chronicle & Echo May '24

Thank you so much to The Chronicle & Echo, Northampton for their write-up about The Guild's 11th anniversary celebrations.

Visit the full article here or read the feature below, words by Katie Wheatley.

Owner 'thrilled to celebrate 11th anniversary of luxury ladieswear store in Northampton town centre.

The owner is "thrilled" to celebrate the 11th anniversary of her luxury ladieswear store, which is still "thriving" in Northampton town centre,

Zoie Walker took a chance and set up 32 The Guild, in Guildhall Road, while juggling being a mother to two young children.

The business is now known as a destination store for those wanting a premium everyday look, and the all-female team has made their mark on the luxury industry.

Former footwear designer Zoie moved to Northampton from London more than a decade ago and struggled to find any stores that inspired her - so she decided to change that.

The founder describes her business as offering "luxury everyday" in the way of "simple, laid back and everyday chic" items.

When asked how it feels to celebrate the latest milestone at 32 The Guild, Zoie said: "I am thrilled. So many businesses have come and gone and we're still thriving and have amazing customers."

The team paid a celebratory nod to the occasion in-store this weekend, to acknowledge just how proud they are to have built the in-person and online platforms.

Expanding and building an all-female team is Zoie's proudest achievement of the past 11 years, as they continue to move onto "bigger and better things".

The biggest challenge the business owner has had to overcome, which paid off in the long run, is when she had no choice but to etablish an online store during the pandemic.

 "Covid really forced my arm," she said. "We were forced to close and were really creative, which boosted our online presence. We focused and pushed the online side."

"Now, because of the financial climate and low footfall in Northampton, our website sustains us and we are fortunate to have our bricks and mortar store."

Zoie's favourite part of running a clothes store is following the process from start to finish. From researching trends and visiting showrooms, to making selections and seeing customers wear the items. Zoie find "a lot of pleasure in seeing it come to life."

The founder believes consumers are now making more considered and sustainable choices - which means "impulse and throwaway purchases" are less common, as customers want to love and treasure their items.

32 The Guild's sister brand, Reguild, helps customers be more sustainable by offering secondhand items that others have given to the store to resell. 

Having shaped a long-standing brand, Zoie was asked what she believes is key to running a successful business that withstands the good and the bad.

"It's ultimately customer service," she said. "We are very grateful to our customers. There is a lot of choice out there and they continue to shop with us. That's amazing."

As an independent business, Zoie says they have taken advantage of not having to jump through many hoops to make changes and adapt to trends. This is something she believes large companies will struggle with.

Despite having a loyal customer base, there are still many people who walk past and never new 32 The Guild was open in the town centre. Zoie finds comfort in the fact that many people are still yet to discover and love her brand.

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