We sat down with Jamie and Karen, owners of Polkadot Boutique. The cute little shop on Staunton Street is a great new addition to the boutique shopping scene here in Honkers. They are hosting a Sip and Shop event tomorrow night (2 November) to introduce the launch of the A/W collection from What the Frock?!. Stop by anytime between 4:30pm-9pm. We think you will like what you see!
What is the concept for Polkadot Boutique?
Karen – To be honest, it all started with a hike and I hate exercise! Jamie and I both moved to Hong Kong at the beginning of 2009 and met whilst hiking. Over the past 3 years we have confided and complained to each other about everything under the sun. Being from the UK and having a strong Yorkshire accent I wasn’t sure just how much Jamie actually understood (if any) but, one thing was for certain and that was we both agreed on the lack of good quality clothing that was trendy and affordable. The top end designers were well above our budgets and the clothes we could afford either everyone was wearing or just didn’t fit. I’ve always wanted to be a business owner and with Jamie’s talent for fashion and eye for design we had the perfect combination for opening Polkadot Boutique.
Jamie – Hilarious!! Karen is not exaggerating – I thought my southern US accent was intense but nothing compares to her Yorkshire-isms!! But seriously, it is true that we both felt there was a need for a boutique where we could shop in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Being an indie designer myself I really wanted to help create a marketplace for local talent to gain exposure as well as offer up-n-coming labels that we loved from back home. We definitely pride ourselves on finding exclusive designers and offering our customers the opportunity to buy well designed, often handmade and one-of-a-kind pieces.
Where did the name come from?
Karen – We wanted the name to reflect the overall feel of the store and the merchandise we carry…fun, casual and feminine. In the same breath we wanted something catchy and easy to remember. Jamie and I went back and forth on names for at least two months before agreeing on Polkadot Boutique. Literally, it’s the only debate I’ve won so far (Ee By Gum)!!!
You have brought a number of international brands to Hong Kong. How do you decide which ones to carry?
Jamie – We really wanted to focus on up-n-coming designers and indie labels that were not readily available to Hong Kong women, and that filled a void in terms of style, price point and quality. There are so many amazing apparel and jewelry designers that it was really hard to narrow down our top favs. If it was up to me I would have brought all of them to Hong Kong but luckily Karen is the more grounded of the two of us and intervened!! Plus, we really loved the idea of bringing in designers that use sustainable or up-cycled fabrics. Currently we have two collections, Elroy and Nancy Dee, that successfully unite fashion and ethics.
What is your favourite item in your store and how would you wear it?
Karen – Gosh, that’s a really hard one!!! I do love the Autumn/Winter collection from Elroy and the fact that I can tell people the pieces are made from organic cotton and silk spun from pineapples. Yes, I did smell it when I first heard, and no it doesn’t smell of pineapples!!! Also, I love the Emily and Fin “Alice” dress. It cute, affordable ($680) and flatters the figure with a really clever cut. It’s our fastest selling item and I can’t wait for the A/W colors to come in!
Emily and Fin “Alice”
Jamie – Wow, Karen’s right for a change (ha ha) that is a hard question. I think the Nancy Dee collection is the most reflective of my own personal style which is a blend of bohemian and retro. I’m in love with the “Gloria” maxi dress ($940) with a wide belt as well as the 50’s inspired Giselle dress ($720) with the tie neck. Both dresses are super soft and can easily work from day to night. And like Karen, I’m a big fan of Emily and Fin’s “Angel” dress which looks great with flats or sexy heels.
Nancy Dee “Gloria”
Who are some of the local Hong Kong designers who sell their pieces at Polkadot?
Jamie – What the Frock, Zero nOir and Bejewelled Bespoke are all designed by local Hong Kong talent. What The Frock has fun, flirty & fabulous dresses for all sorts of occasions. Best known for their stylish wrap dresses, these ladies certainly have an eye for fashion and fit. Zero nOir offers stylish silk dresses as well as separates in bright colors and bold prints. With a design philosophy of quality and attention to detail, zero nOir’s inspiration is drawn from colour, design and influences from travels and cultures from around the world. Inspired by romanticism and elegance, Bejewelled Bespoke pieces are handcrafted using high quality stones, metals and antique findings. Expect original and unique designs, that are both timeless and wearable at very reasonable prices.
What is your go to fashion staple?
Karen – For me it a simple black pencil skirt that flatters the waist and lengthens the legs and makes you feel super sexy every time you slip it on especially with those stilettos! We have just the skirt in store now!
Jamie – Statement jewelry is a must! This season I am loving all things bold including the chunky cuff bracelets and breastplate necklaces. You can easily transform your outfit with the addition of one or both of these items. We have a great selection of jewelry at the boutique that fits all styles and budgets!
It seems like we are seeing dots everywhere lately so tell us…how are you wearing Polkadots this season?
Karen – I know it seems that everywhere I look in Hong Kong Polkadots are out in full force, I hope its not catching!! From dresses to designer bags and tops to tights everyone has that one polkadot piece in their wardrobe!! I love the tailored ruffle sleeved polkadot dress that we have in the boutique. It encapsulated everything polkadots should be cute, fun and fantastic to wear!
Jamie – I can’t wait to wear a new dress with have coming in from UK designers Emily and Fin. It’s a black and white polkadot dress with a strapless sweetheart necklace. Paired with a boyfriend blazer, black tights and booties it makes for the perfect going out-in-the-town outfit. And, I’m all about accessorizing solid dresses with polkadotted scarves and tights.