There is something new happening at Children of Vision, home of James Dobson’s Jimmy D label. Directors Vicky Chan and Dobson have closed their store in the iconic St Kevin’s arcade and have changed it up to reflect the different retail landscape. We asked a couple of questions, and here are James’ answers, some of which was used in the article for the Fashion Museum post I did recently. Here is the complete interview…
Changes are afoot at Children of Vision, can you tell us about them?
Children of Vision is splitting in two different directions – we are opening a store-within-a-store at The Service Depot in Wellington, focussing on introducing our imports to one of our favourite cities, and opening a space in the La Gonda building on Karangahape Road showcasing the full Jimmy D collection as well as our imports and a selection of local labels we love – this will be open Friday and Saturday and by appointment Monday – Thursday. The new space is long with two rooms, wooden floor boards and lots of natural light allowing us to photograph everything properly for online, and most importantly still on K road – our favourite part of Auckland.
What made you decide to move in the direction you have?
Children of Vision has been open for 5 years now, and it was a natural time to reevaluate where we were at. Wellington was always next on our hit list and we have a great relationship with The Service Depot down there – we’ve done numerous COV pop-ups in their space and had talked about making it permanent for a while. We felt that although we loved St. Kevins Arcade we had grown as much as we could there, and in order to reach new customers we had to reconfigure things slightly in order to take it all to the next level.The Service Depot is a busy store, with a retail vision very similar to ours – it’s unpretentious, with a great creative energy and when ever I go down there I never want to leave. For us, our store within a store there is about getting our incredible imports in front of a much larger audience – and without perpetuating any kind of Auckland vs Wellington cliche’s, Wellingtonians in general are very open minded and creative with the way they dress. Which for us means we can continue with what COV was all about, never dumbing anything down and as we wrote 5 years ago “Children of Vision are fearless supporters of all that is avant garde, intellectual and unusual.” I didn’t want us to lose sight of this, we’re not about bringing in labels that we weren’t passionate about, or going all trend-driven and price pointed just to turn a quick dollar – I like to think there’s more longevity and creativity in the labels we work with.The Auckland space is about working with customers that I’ve had shopping with me personally for years, and customers that I have in mind when I’m buying. It’s also about a larger space, that we can use to photograph new arrivals (something that was difficult to stay on top of previously), all filled with our absolute favourite labels and some new ones… When I travel I’m always the person scouring magazines and online to find the most obscure shops – the ones tucked away down alley ways or only accessed via intercoms under council estates (my FAVOURITE store LN-CC in London was one such experience). This is what COV will be about in Auckland – I’m putting faith in people to come and find us, because I know I would if I was a shopper, and if you discover us you’ll be rewarded with labels you won’t find anywhere else – and great service. And coffee. We’ll definitely have a coffee machine!
It will also allow us to take our online store to the next level – and give it the push it needs – we want to be the Net-a-Porter of all that is avant garde, weird and wonderful.
And MOST importantly it will allow me to focus on my own label Jimmy D – the growth we’ve experienced in wholesale orders the last few seasons can no longer be ignored and in order to stay on top of this I need to dedicate myself to it in a much more full time capacity. I’ve never had the opportunity to work full time on Jimmy D and the potential this brings is really exciting.Having the two stores will also allow us much more buying power and the opportunity to travel, sourcing labels for our customers that aren’t available anywhere else.
Do you see this as a shift in the changing face of retail in New Zealand?
I think not only locally, but internationally retailers are reevaluating the original ‘bricks and mortar’ retail model. Online is changing things – I know so many people that are frustrated by the lack of choices that are offered to them in traditional retail stores that they are left no option but to shop online. When people do go out and hit the shops they want an EXPERIENCE, with Wellington we’re building a space that will house COV and convey the creativity and originality of our brands – it will be fun to shop in. In Auckland it will be about either discovering your new favourite shop with great music, great service and an unparalleled selection of designers.
I think a lot of retailers are playing it too safe, if I’m going to part with my hard earned cash it needs to be an inspiring and exciting purchase – we want to be the go-to place for creativity and anything left of centre, whether it’s our physical stores or our online store.WELLINGTON:Children of Vision @ The Service Depot
126 Wakefiled Street
04 499 7697AUCKLANDChildren of Vision
La Gonda Building
AucklandBy appointment only Monday – Thursday, call 09 3798930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Friday 10-5.30, Saturday 10-5.ONLINEwww.childrenofvision.com