If you ever have the chance to travel to the small city of Sittard, Margot Meessen, her husband Rob Ehlen and their son Ramon will charm the pants off of you. Priority wise the three of them are a family first but as the proud owners of Labels Women, their boutique holds a strong second place. This is a family that lives and breathes fashion. ‘I dream about clothes’, Margot laughs. It’s this enthusiasm that fuels their customers with energy from the moment they set foot inside their store. Surrounded by a carefully curated collection of luxury pieces and emerging designers, it’s hard not to wonder how these pieces came to hang in front of you. A sentiment that precisely encapsulates what the owners aim to achieve. ‘I want to project my feeling and passion towards our clients’, Margot explains. ‘I want to educate them, explain the story behind the collections, the designer’s vision… To me, that’s what fashion is all about. Knowing what you are buying and having an excited feeling about it afterwards.’
It’s this pure love for fashion that inspired Margot and Rob to open a boutique in Sittard. What initially started as a fun test, quickly turned out to be a successful and unique concept. ‘After a year, we had to expand and for us, that’s when Labels Women officially opened, December 2008’, Margot explains. Not that Margot is willing to dismiss the previous existence of the store but to them that first small store, that was only open for four days a week, doesn’t match up to the boutique that greets you now. Coincidently, at the time the store was remodelled, the then sixteen-year-old Ramon first showed interest in joining his parents. ‘Before, I wasn’t that interested in fashion’, Ramon admits. ‘But at that time social media came into the picture and immediately grasped my attention. I started taking pictures of collections, joined my parents to Paris for buying trips and showed new pieces to my friends. Slowly, everything started to grow organically and soon I was helping around in the store a few days a week because I enjoyed it.’ Speaking with Ramon now, it’s hard to believe that this chatty, confident and stylish persona we’re witnessed with today, wasn’t always present.
To me, that’s what fashion is all about. Knowing what you are buying and having an excited feeling about it afterwards.
‘I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this’, Margot hesitatingly states. ‘But Ramon’s passion lies within the unattainableness of a product. To him it’s almost a sport to be the first to land a brand. It’s a must that we’re one of the first to have it.’ While Margot appeared a little reluctant at first to share this information, it’s instantly clear that this is where the biggest thrill for both of them lies. The moment we touch upon the unreachable brands, their eyes sparkle and the excitement becomes unstoppable. ‘As soon as I hear rumours of a designer planning to move, I’ll investigate in an effort to land the brand’, Ramon tells us. ‘To me, a designer holds a greater significance than the brand’s name. They create the vision behind it. I’m one of those people who’s extremely obsessed with a couple of brands and usually it’s due to the designer that’s currently at the helm of it. For me, it needs to feel iconic, I need to be inspired to get to the bottom of the inspiration behind a collection and I want to be able to communicate this entire concept towards our clients.’
Discussing the latest designer moves from Anthony Vaccarello replacing Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent to Demna Gvasalia becoming the creative director at Balenciaga after Alexander Wang’s three-year stint, Margot and Ramon’s drive again take the forefront. Their almost encyclopaedic knowledge is a treat to witness, without ever coming off as intimidating. ‘I consider it the duty of boutique owners to provide clients with all the necessary background information’, Ramon explains. ‘That’s the only way a piece will receive the cult status it deserves and unfortunately you won’t find that in every luxury boutique. When the right presentation isn’t there, if the background information is lacking, a customer will never get a good feel for a brand, its identity or the art behind a collection.’ Margot firmly agrees with her son, ‘If you’re willing to pay good money for a product, you should understand exactly what you’re buying. I know that this is one of the reasons why our clients keep coming back. They love it that we provide them with the right information and of course for our personality. We work one on one, very personal, very relaxed. It may not be the standard but that’s how we handle everything. It all comes from our heart.’
Find out more about Labels Women on the boutique page.