After announcing the closure of both her physical and online stores earlier this year, Amber Whitecliffe’s loyal customers were successful in persuading her to keep her online store going. We talk to Whitecliffe about producing apparel in New Zealand, and the secrets behind her loyal customer base.
For now, Whitecliffe is seeing where ecommerce takes her. Before closing her Parnell boutique, lots of her customers were already purchasing online, instilling in her confidence to make the switch.
Tell us about producing apparel in New Zealand.
The main benefit of Made in NZ is being able to be on top of your QC and producing small exclusive runs of garments.
I love knowing my customers have something unique, it’s well made, and they are supporting the local economy.
The most difficult factor is price. Fabrics, trims, and manufacturing cost more. Although it is expressed broadly to the public, it is still a big challenge to get customers to spend a little bit extra. Customers ask me every day about cost.
Where do you see the NZ fashion industry going?
Kiwis are creative and smart. There has always been a demand for our products.
Everyone in the industry is constantly assessing it, being proactive, and making moves - the answer is different for each designer.
When designing, how do you compromise between trends and sustainability?
My customers purchase from me when they want something unique that no-one else will have. I keep my runs low to avoid any twin moments! I don’t follow trends too much in my designing, making them timeless pieces that last.
I am constantly getting feedback that when women wear their Amber Whitecliffegarments, they always get millions of compliments. AW pieces are a lifetime investment.
Tell us about a memorable AW moment.
One of the most popular garments from my first collection in 2014 was a tailored wool jacket. Five years later, those jackets still look brand new, and have been loved and worn like crazy! That honestly makes me so thrilled!