A hat shop in Tadcaster is celebrating its 10th anniversary after a decade of growth and innovation.
It all began with the property bug. With a personal portfolio of properties Liz Devine-Wright purchased her first commercial property in 2003. Following a year developing the property where Simply Devine was to be located, and a joint interest in hats, mother and daughter started their partnership and opened Simply Devine in February 2004.
With a vision to take the brand further afield, 2006 saw the Simply Devine e-commerce site go live and Simply Devine now has a customer database with buyers and pop stars as clients from all over the world, including New York, California, Greece, Italy, France, Isle of Man and every corner of the UK.
“Customers continually praise us on how easy our website is to use, so there is no way we will be changing the design or layout! With over 80k hits/month we propose to add a section for milliners to pay to promote their work in the very near future,” says, owner Liz Devine-Wright.
“Supporting the Made in Britain campaign, we buy UK designed headwear, and whilst it has a more expensive price tag compared to hats made in China, Simply Devine is a high end hat shop whose core clients are those attending international race meetings, including our very own British Royal Ascot and the Dubai World Cup, for ladies who want a head-turner, something wow and different.
“Not all ladies are super models, but hats, hatinators and fascinators available at Simply Devine, for those in the know, head for the Simply Devine hat shop in Tadcaster. It’s like a candy store with a huge array of headgear designed to both complement your outfit and win you compliments. We also have an in-house motto … “we do not sell a piece of headwear that doesn’t suit just to make a sale. If we lose a sale, we don’t lose our reputation”.”
In 2009 Pashmina by Simply Devine was introduced. After travelling Nepal for over a decade and having seen the huge success of pashminas sold in store, Liz started to import them and now has trade customer base in the South of England and overseas.
Then in 2011, mum, Joy Devine took the decision to retire and so Liz bought her out in 2012. Continuing on single handed, Liz carried forward with a careful buying plan including the introduction of Mother of the Bride/Mother of the Groom and two web sites to match, namely www.motherofthebrideboutique.co.uk and www.motherofthegroomboutique.co.uk, the Simply Devine boutique is here to stay.
“Differentiating our business from others is easy,” says Liz. “When Simply Devine was born our Business adviser suggested we look at what others milliners/hat shops were doing. My attitude was how do we know they are doing it right?! So, from the outset we took the approach to be different and I believe this is why we stand out from the crowd and have been successful in the millinery world.
“In the current financial climate when we are seeing many high street businesses closing, all the specialist shops are holding their own, and we intend to be one of them!
“Winning the Forward Ladies Retailer of the Year Women in Business Award 2013 has been a fantastic ‘feather in our cap’ and in my opinion shouts volumes about the Simply Devine business, and following nearly 10 years of working hard thus far, networking and sheer determination, we are more than confident it has elevated Simply Devine a number of rungs on the ladder towards the top, proving we are one of the very best hat shops in the UK.
“I just can’t believe it has been 10 years since York Press came to take photos on our first day of opening! We have a ‘Simply Devine’ cake being made by Zoe’s Fancy Cakes from Leeds and Juvina of White Petal Design near York who makes lasered wedding invitations was commissioned to design and laser cut the 10th Anniversary window display.”