“My Shop looks like a walk-in closet and I can help my customers as a true personal shopper,” this is the attitude that characterizes Algiag Gaber’s tiny womenswear store based in Milan’s residential Isola area. “What differentiates my shop are brands and products that are different from what many can buy in vertical chains,” she continues explaining how keen she is on offering top quality, cool and chic Made In Italy and Made in France products. We speak to Gaber about her bestsellers, local customers and the trends she bets on for next summer.
What are the current bestsellers of your store and why?
My store is based in the Isola area [editor’s note: a part of Milan not far from renowned Corso Como and Piazza Gae Aulenti – it was once a popular housing area which was recently requalified]. Here, people live and work and I am lucky I am based on a square near to a school, a pub and an easy restaurant. My customers are working women, mothers but also young girls who all love to look cool and chic, but who also love to feel at ease at every hour of the day.
What I sell best are especially dresses, but also jackets and t-shirts, plus footwear and accessories. One of my most successful brands is Eklé, a French selection of product, offering dresses, jackets and trousers. Also successful are FRNCH and Charlize that offer knitwear, coats and trenches, betting some kind of more masculine mood. All these brands are appreciated for their good price-quality ratio, fresh and bon-ton looks. I also sell well some made in Italy top level footwear brands. Among them are Private and San Crispino. This last one is of very high-quality as it is produced by an artisan from Rimini. These brands offer classic models like laced up shoes – to be worn either with or without laces – but also trendy sneakers, all cool essential styles characterized by great quality. Also bestselling are glasses by Saraghina, another made in Italy accessory line from Rimini, now recalling customers to my store from different parts of Milan. People like what I offer as my selection of products is not as widespread as what vertical chains are selling. My brands are sold by very few stores in Milan and available in limited quantities only. For this you don’t risk to sit at a bar near someone wearing the same dress or shirt as yours!
Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
They buy first of all according to need, but also because they like when I help them - almost like a personal shopper - suggesting how to mix pieces or creating their own very personal image. Others rather like to buy on impulse as they come regularly every week to buy some pieces.
Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends?
I am always curious and make research through showrooms, fashion shows, trade shows, newspapers, magazines and social networks. I also spend time visiting vintage markets that can show me some trend or inspiration for searching new products and brands.
How important is the communication with regular customers? How do you communicate with them?
I speak with them through my Facebook and Instagram pages, and social networks, but my shop window is always my best media.
How do the collections you offer for next spring/summer look like? And what are the most important trends, in general?
Seventies will be cool for longer with soft comfy ethnic dresses and shirts, flares and bell bottom jeans, especially for s/s 2017.
In general borders between genders are always more blurred and menswear and womenswear are increasingly and reciprocally influencing each other. This is also reflected in what I offer and feel will become more important in the future. Also in footwear lower heel shoes are gaining importance – as real women like!
Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
I have just added Cliver, a Made in Italy, very good quality jeans brand, even if this is not such a good moment for selling jeans. A pair of the jeans I offer costs about €85 while vertical chains like H&M and Zara offer them at much lower prices. I wish my clients understood the difference between quality and details of this brand versus new trends– be it small fringed hems or good quality fabrics. This is hard to convey! I also recently started offering Lanapo, a selection of cuir sandals made by an artisan from the Cinque Terre Ligurian seaside Italian region. They are very unique products.
How does your store differ from other stores?
This is a small cozy store and I like that my customers can feel as if they entered their own walk-in closet and decided every time what to wear and how to mix it with different accessories and bijoux. I can help them with my advice and suggest them what could suit them or make them look more interesting, without ever pressuring them.
What do you like about your customers?
I have opened this store two years ago and appreciate how they trust my choices and what I offer them since many of my clients are habitual ones.
How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
It is very important. As I have previously explained, I decided to create this store where my clients can breathe some Parisian cool-chic atmosphere and find what suits their tastes and needs best. For this, this small store is decorated with pink and purple painted flowers, essential display shelves and hangers where they can find their favorite outfit, piece or accessory.
Piazzale Archinto facing n. 7
tel. +39 348 3888167