You describe your boutique as a candy shop, a place where you can always stumble upon something new. Can we link this sense of discovery to a general feeling you want Jade to convey?
We want to surprise them with our selection and the styling options we propose, but also with the boutique's feel and merchandising. We try to change our window displays every fortnight and consciously change the layout of the boutique as frequently as possible. When something looks different, it feels new and exciting. People like to be surprised when they enter a store, and we want to give them that element. It's a way of showing our creativity in multiple ways.
Being creative requires inspiration, where do you look to find yours?
I'm always looking for inspiration: when I'm travelling, walking around in Hasselt, reading a magazine or even surfing the web. Our selection, the boutique itself, the decoration, the flowers... I think they are the biggest strengths of Jade; you can tell everything is done wholeheartedly. It's my identity, my creativity they experience when they enter the store.
Since Jade is about you and your vision, will we find you helping clients on the shop floor as well?
Of course. I'm always present to assist clients myself; I think that's an essential element to success. When I go on a seasonal buying trip, I know what sells and what my customers are after. That helps me to make a targeted and focused selection in showrooms and in the end, it's the client that benefits from it all. I make all of these buying trips with my boyfriend. We make a solid team. It's nice to have a soundboard with me, someone to bounce ideas off and consult with.
Before opening your own boutique, you used to be an avid shopper. Can you explain the difference between shopping for yourself and a buying trip for Jade?
Before I had my own store, I was shopping or browsing stores everytime I had a moment to spare. Now my personal shopping trips have become significantly less frequent, but when I'm on a buying trip, I'll still stick to my gut feeling, my own view. I would never buy something I don't believe in or support. The words bestseller and must have are words I personally hate. To me, the pieces I buy need to have a sense of individuality while at the same time remaining timeless. Not everything needs to be timeless, trends are definitely allowed each season, but I need to be sure that each piece can be worn for more than one season and has endless possibilities when it comes to combining. My own style is quite feminine, but always with a masculine touch, a surprising element. Everything I do is a game of contrasts when I come to think of it.