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Interview: Tiffany Maughan on running multi-label boutique Shopping at Tiffany’s

Summer days ahead have us dreaming of floaty maxi-dresses, embellished kaftans and stylish jumpsuits, and it’s a fact that multi-label boutique Shopping at Tiffany’s is a one-stop shop for the lot. That’s why we were thrilled to interview the store’s founder, former fashion buyer and stylish mum-of-three Tiffany Maughan – and even more thrilled to find out you can now shop the store online (with overseas shipping!). We stopped by her plush pad in Bukit Timah to find out more.


Congratulations on your online launch! What were the drivers behind this?

Online shopping is really taking off in Singapore, and we wanted to be part of the exciting revolution! Of course, we’ll continue to have our two stores (at Tanglin Mall and Great World City), but having an online presence makes our range of clothes accessible to everyone, whether or not they work full-time, and whether they live in Singapore, the US or the UK.

We wanted to become truly global, and it’s been fascinating for me to see sales coming in throughout January from the UK. As it’s winter there, sun-seekers are heading abroad for a hot holiday and are limited for light clothing because the stores are still stocking winter. It’s exciting to see our clothes going beyond Singapore’s shores!

What else is news?
I’ve recently started catering for tweens (age 13 and up) to complement our core womenswear business. Having found out for myself that there really isn’t much in Singapore for those in-between years, I’ve created a separate section for this tricky-to-dress age group, with crop tops, skirts, summer, party and evening dresses, all of which are in our stores now.

My daughter, Mackenzie, has been modelling the range for the online store. Getting her involved in the business on the weekends has been great, and helping out in the shop gives her an understanding about how the business is run, and what sells and why, which she really enjoys. What woman doesn’t want to shop with her daughter?

What do you look for when considering stocking a label?
We like to be the sole distributor; and as we shift stock so fast, that isn’t usually hard to negotiate. We look for originality and, of course, great designs with a bit of sass. Affordable pricing is also a big factor.

How do you balance such a busy career with family time?
It can be tough, but I have three great kids and a wonderful husband. It’s a bit easier now that the kids are older, because they have longer school days, so I do as much as I can while they’re busy. Of course, I have lots of sourcing trips, but I try not to be away for too long.

 

An easy-to-wear wardrobe staple by Shopping at Tiffany’s

You’re well known for your involvement in hosting Melbourne Cup Day. How far in advance do you start planning?
It’s a huge amount of work, but it’s so worth it – and for such a good cause too; I couldn’t imagine not organising it. I have a great committee of ladies behind me who are wonderful. We started with just two of us, but we’ve since grown to a group of six. We start planning a year in advance, and we secure the next year’s venue almost as soon as the last glass of champagne is drunk and the last guest leaves!

Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share with other working mums or would-be-entrepreneurs?
Despite the success of Shopping at Tiffany’s, the thing I’m most proud of is my family. I see my foray into fashion as me following my passion, and I try to work smartly and efficiently, making a conscious effort to remember to enjoy the good days and learn from the bad days. Most importantly, I listen to my gut instincts – it’s gotten me this far, so there must be something in it!

Is there a motto you live by?
I tell my children that there’s no reason you can’t do anything you put your mind to, and to follow your dreams. That was the advice handed down to me, and it’s what we live by as a family.

How would you describe your personal style?
My style is dressy, but laid-back. I like to look put-together, but I don’t want to spend hours getting ready. I wear clothes that work well in the two seasons we have here in Singapore: in and out of air-con! It can be swelteringly hot outside, and virtually glacial inside. For me, personal style is all about finding things you can adapt and make your own; it can sometimes be challenging, but it’s also fun.

What are your tips for a reader who wants to amp up her wardrobe?
Have confidence, and get some good styling tips that you can easily replicate. Styling customers is one of my favourite parts of my job – I love it! Dressing is about having fun, and also knowing what suits you. A few small details and accessories can make the world of difference, but it’s also very much about how you feel about yourself. I believe clothes that make you look great, make you feel great.

Yellow is a must-have colour this season
Yellow is a must-have colour this season

 

What key trends are you into for the new season?
• The shirt-dress will be a must-have. It remains a classic shape, with a dropped waist and side-slits, and can also be teamed with a belt.
• Yellow is one of the colours of the season – from canary to marigold; I’m head over heels!
• Gingham is also making a comeback. This tiny check print is huge news in either pink-and-white or blue-and-white, and it can make you look both fresh and preppy in one easy hit.
• Black-and-white is always popular, and it’s here to stay for 2015. I’m seeing a lot of stripes in everything from accessories to outerwear – and there’ll also be masses of very fresh, very cool white on white.
• Hair and makeup trends to follow include the sleek ponytail (always a winner in this humidity, I find) as well as windblown braids. I love fresh makeup with a pop of bronzer by day and, for the evening, exaggerated eyes with a bold sweep of thick black liner. For nails, it’s got to be cobalt blue.

Tell us your favourite places to shop in Singapore.
I love On Pedder for its vast collection of shoes, bags and accessories; and Sephora is my makeup heaven – I could spend all day in there!

How about wining and dining recommendations?
For excellent local food, I don’t think you can beat Westlake off Farrer Road; I love the chilli crab and their famous pork pau. Cocktails are usually at the Cufflink Club, and I have a weakness for Potato Head’s burgers, which are to die for. For a treat, I’ll head to Luke’s for a juicy steak.

 

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