Lucy Aylen is surrounded by a whirlwind of colorful dresses, tops and skirts inside a small pop-up store opening Friday in Los Angeles.
The space, with large windows looking out onto a plant-lined walkway at the trendy Platform LA shopping venue, is also filled with six-foot-tall plants that blend with the outside.
In a way, this is a moment of déjà vu. Three years ago, the British label Never Fully Dressed had a pop-up shop in Los Angeles with the idea of later opening a permanent boutique in the city. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put it on hold.
Now Aylen is opening a pop-up shop in Los Angeles again and visiting real estate agents who are pointing out some of the best shopping streets in the city.
“We’re just picking up where we left off,” said Aylen, who, with a small team, was preparing the pop-up for a 12-day run.
Never Fully Dressed, or NFD, was founded in 2009 when Aylen took over her parents’ penthouse in East London and launched a clothing company whose creations feature colorful prints designed by Aylen and her team. She initially sold her clothes in Portobello and Spitalfields markets, known for their artistic and creative wares. Five years later, she opened a shop in Essex.
“We were working in my mom’s attic, and she said, you’re devaluing my house. I mean, we were stocking up and down the stairs and the carpets were getting worn, ”recalled Aylen, noting that her parents were also market traders.
Thus, he opened a small shop that also served as an office. That store was closed intermittently for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Aylen and her staff got their bearings by selling more merchandise online and setting up a table in front of the store where people could collect their orders.
Now that the business world is returning to normal, Never Fully Dressed is in expansion mode. He recently hired a new e-commerce manager who is analyzing sales trends and helping sharpen the company’s direction.
Analysis shows that clothes, which retail on average $ 90 to $ 130, account for 70 percent of purchases.
Most of the company’s sales come from the UK, followed by the US, which accounts for 20% of revenue. This is one of the reasons for the Los Angeles pop-up: Another pop-up is expected to open in New York’s SoHo from October 13-22.
Australia is the third most popular country for sales, followed by Ireland and Dubai.
Never Fully Dressed is known for its body-hugging dresses and versatile garments that can be worn in a variety of ways. “We show customers how to layer our dresses over jeans or how to wear them with a duster,” Aylen said. There are mini, midi and maxi dresses for added coverage which have been popular in the Middle East. Bodycon skirts are also very popular.
Until recently, the Never Fully Dressed collection consisted mainly of spring / summer looks that were changed once a month. “We tend to have a theme of the month, whether it’s Western clothing, 1960s Miami or whatever,” Aylen said. “And we’re heavy with the prints we design.”
Lately the company has expanded to knitwear for sweaters and is introducing children’s clothing, footwear, swimwear, underwear and reversible outerwear.
The label promotes sustainability in many ways. It makes sure its plants in the UK, China, Romania, Turkey and India are sustainable. And many of its products are made from recycled polyester or eco viscose.
A few years ago, the company launched its pre-loved initiative to buy back some of its previously sold merchandise and resell it. The idea started when Aylen was spotted wearing an old NFD banana dress on Instagram. People were asking, but she was no longer available. She realized that there was a market for used NFD products.
Now sustainability is part of the message the company is taking around the world, with more pop-ups planned. In October, there is a pop-up set for Singapore followed by another in Sydney, Australia in November. Down the street, there might be one in Texas. “It’s just fun to be on the go,” Aylen said. “The most valuable thing you can do is talk to your client.”