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The Journal

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The Journal May 2010

Boutique owner Kate Walton features in The Journal Newspaper discussing the aspects of her boutique HaveToLove and the advantages of recently being listed in Vogue Magazine....

Cited as one of Britain’s Best Boutiques by Vogue Magazine, HaveToLove in Gosforth is flying the flag for North East fashion. FRANCESCA CRAGGS chats to the brains and beauty behind the business, Kate Walton.

At just 28, Kate Walton has more fashion accolades to her name than some seasoned professionals could ever hope for. And just to add to the young entrepreneur’s growing list, Vogue has highlighted her Gosforth clothing shop in its recent Britain’s Best Boutiques guide.

Following a successful career designing handbags, the Northumbria University fashion school graduate launched HaveToLove on Hawthorn Road in 2006. With a flair for fashion and a head for business, Kate has grown the boutique into one of the region’s most successful clothing shops.

Vogue praised the fact that “VIP customers are treated to a first look at the collections as well as charity events and fashion shows”.
Kate said: “Being cited as one of Britain’s Best Boutiques by Vogue is just amazing. I just couldn’t believe it. You find yourself just working hard and getting on with what you are doing, but when someone appreciates what we are doing, it really means a lot to us. Vogue basically contacted us in December to say we would be featured in the April edition and it was as simple as that."

The national recognition has lead to a surge in new customers across the UK

We’ve definitely had a lot more customers from further afield who saw the article in Vogue. We also run a very successful website, with customers from across the globe. We send clothing to the US, Australia, Japan and Europe. I even had a request this morning to send a garment to the Philippines.”

Kate was also recently named as one of the Top 30 Under 30 by Drapers Magazine. She is placed amongst the elite of the Next Generation category which represents up-and-coming talent and future leaders of the fashion industry.

Most of the people featured on the list are based in London. I’m the only person outside of London which makes me particularly proud.”

Kate who lives in Gosforth, exploded on to the scene at Graduate Fashion Week in 2004 with her havetohold handbag collection. Her bags earned her a nomination in Topshop’s Accessories Award and a short list in the Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Her unique bag designs were also a must-have in the wardrobes of Victoria Beckham, Peaches Geldof, Sophie Anderton and Cheryl Cole.

Being shortlisted for Grazia’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards prompted Kate to start her business. The stunning shop stocks a selection of designer labels including By Malene Birger, MiH Jeans, Olivia Rubin, and Marc Jacobs. In search of exciting new labels, Kate travels to London every month and Paris twice a year.

She said: “By Malene Birger is my favourite label. It’s really elegant, but very easy to wear. The spring collection includes lots of nudes, khakis, white, gold and plum. Another of my favourites is Manoush. It’s really girly yet sophisticated with lots of nautical themed pieces this season. We also stock a new and up-and-coming brand called Olivia Rubin. The collection includes lots of stunning dresses in really vibrant colours like electric blue, pinks and splash prints."

Our bestselling jeans are MiH Jeans. Customers who buy one pair always return to buy three more! They are really great to put on. They feel so soft and you don’t even feel like you are wearing jeans.”

Havetolove also stock a unique range of accessories including “irresistible collectable jewellery” by ChloBo, as well as a new range of sunglasses by Marc Jacobs and Carrera.

As well as many celebrity customers, the details of which Kate refuses to disclose, havetolove has a huge following and caters for women aged between 30 and 50 and over.

“What sets us apart is our really personal service. We have the same customers that visit us week after week, and buy a whole new wardrobe every season. I even buy the clothes in with specific customers in mind.”

Despite being in  the fashion business for a number of years, Kate says she is more enthusiastic than ever.

I know a lot more about the industry now. As well as getting to travel, the best aspects of the job are the customers. It’s so nice when people like what you do and give you compliments. I also love it when customers take everything into the fitting room because they love the clothes so much! We like to see ourselves as more of a national company and are hoping to launch a second boutique very soon.'

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