It’s all smiles and styles at a Boo-tique with a difference

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Eva Grey speaks to the sisters who offer personal advice and are set to launch their own fashion labels.

If you fancy having a personal fashion advisor help you mix and match your newest outfit, you don’t have to go far.

Coco Boo in Preston.  Pictured is Shannon Knape.

Coco Boo in Preston. Pictured is Shannon Knape.

CocoBoo, a small boutique shop tucked away on Cannon Street, Preston, offers the best of both worlds: fresh-off-the-runway trends, but with a personal touch.

Vittoria Defelice and her sister Melania have always been passionate about fashion.

So when they both graduated from their degrees in Fashion Promotion and Fashion Design at the University of Central Lancashire, the next step felt natural – CocoBoo sprung up in March 2009, in all its glamorous glory.

Vittoria likes to be close to her customers so she spends every day in her shop, which welcomes its visiting shoppers with the cosy feel of a modern bedroom – a tall feather-clad lamp, a woven basket, a thin carpet and flowery curtains have been tastefully scattered in front of a dominating mirror by Vittoria herself.

“I think the one-on-one relationship we set with the customer makes us very unique.

“We’re always helpful, very friendly – every time someone comes in we make sure we help them.

“If you walk into a big store, sometimes you feel a bit lost, because no one is there to help you.

“Most of our customers have an event in mind and come ask us for advice – sometimes they just need the reassurance that certain patterns go well with eachother.”

However, she and her retail assistant Shannon Knape make sure they give the customer their space to decide: “We’re not pushy; I’d rather a customer walks out with nothing than feel pressurised into buying something and then regret it.”

Their hangers, dangling with a dazzling mix of flowery imprints and edgy neon accessories, reflect this summer’s hot trends.

All their stock comes from top retailer Glamorous, which also supplies their other shop in Halifax, West Yorkshire, where Melania is currently based.

“Glamorous give exclusivity to us, so we’re the only ones who get certain brands. We do follow trends, but we’ve always been into fashion so we mainly get what we love and hope it sells.

“So far it’s worked,” says Vittoria.

“When we initially started, we thought our customers would be a bit young.

“But actually, it’s not like that, it’s quite a wide age group.

“I think from the age of 20 to 35 we’re really popular with that particular age group.

“But then, it’s all very versatile so it’s difficult to pin down.”

The success of their boutique inspired Vittoria and Melanie to think about launching their own collection. Although the upkeeping of their two shops is hard work, their passion shines through:

“It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do and my sister is really good at design.

“We love it and we think that as long as you love what you do, you don’t mind doing it,” Vittoria says.