‘One size fits all’ isn’t always desirable, but in the case of Cleverly Wrapped, it’s proved a clever move.
When she returned from eight years in Dubai and Hong Kong, Middleton client Harriet Cleverly knew she wanted to create her own online retailing business, drawing on 20 years’ experience with Harrods, the Gap and the White Company. She also identified that some of the biggest overheads and headaches for online fashion retailers are the returns arising from sizing issues. The result was the launch of cleverlywrapped.com in 2014, a hand-picked range of designer scarves aimed at the gifting market.
“Scarves make a perfect gifting option – especially for men who want to buy a beautiful present but are nervous of getting the size completely wrong. The fact that we always gift-wrap every order is another bonus for the boys!” says Harriet.
“We’ve now diversified into resort-wear – kaftans, wraps, beach towels and other accessories, for example – but staying with the principle of gift items that come in one size only which has been so successful for us.”
“It’s always lovely to pack something new and colourful into your suitcase for a holiday,” says Harriet. “So, for our 2017 resort-wear collection, we’ve been scouring the world for those fabrics and colours that give you real pleasure before, during and after a holiday.”
We asked Harriet some more questions about business, gifts and holidays.
Perfect holiday destination?
“We just had an amazing week in Mauritius celebrating my best friend’s 50th – perfect for all the family. And the fact is, when you’re building up a young business on your own, you never really stop working. So, we all got to try out some of our new resort-wear and did some photography and social marketing at the same time.”
Best gift I’ve ever received?
“A present has to be a surprise to be really good. So I would say my favourite ever was when my husband bought me a painting and gave it to me at a random time of the year when it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas. I loved the painting, and I loved the surprise element of it just as much. It will hang on our walls forever.”
Single favourite Cleverly Wrapped item?
“It has to be a Jane Carr Scarf. I have one from every collection and find them so easy to wear and the quality is super luxurious.”
Business-people you admire?
“I really admire Chrissie Rucker from The White Company – they have maintained an incredibly consistent brand image throughout. And Natalie Massanet from NET-A-PORTER who has now moved to Farfetch – I am always looking to those websites for ideas and inspiration.”
“And I’ve just read Phil Night’s autobiography, Shoedog, which was very inspirational. He created Nike with a 50 dollar loan from his father. It reassured me about cash flow issues amongst other things!”
Which city, to mix business with pleasure?
“Definitely Paris. When I’m on a buying trip I always try and combine it with some culture and a favourite restaurant, and Paris has it all.”
Where next for Cleverly Wrapped?
“This year I’m focusing on growing online sales and I’m in the process of building a new website which will give me much more scope for better analytics and an improved user experience. I’m also working on growing my social media following which is proving to be a great marketing tool.”