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How former banker Cally is fashioning a new career

June 4, 2018

The 44-year-old from Edinburgh took the opportunity to sell designer clothes at outlet prices after ‘lightbulb moment.’

FORMER banker Cally Halpin swapped figures for fashion when she decided to launch her own retail business.

The 44-year-old spotted a gap in the market for selling end-of-line designer clothing at discounted prices.

Can you tell us about Lux Boutique Outlet and the products you sell?

I provide a service to high-end fashion boutiques, such as Jane Davidson and Protected Species, where they give me their end-of-line stock and I sell it at a discount.

It’s all very high end, really good quality, and brand new with tags.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone because the clients get some money from the sales of their end-of-line stock, I’m able to turn that stock into a business, and customers can buy high-quality items at a really good price.

Where did the inspiration for the business come from?

I had my lightbulb moment a few years ago when I was talking to a friend who runs a fashion boutique. Nobody sells 100 per cent of everything so there’s always stuff left over.

She was telling me how she had new season stock arriving and not enough room to store her end-of-line stock.

Most businesses are just writing the stock off so I thought there must be a business opportunity there.

I developed the concept at my kitchen table and then, fast forward a few years, and I have just recently rebranded to Lux Boutique Outlet.

What’s the journey been like so far?

I rebranded in March to Lux Boutique Outlet because I want to grow my online sales and I wanted the name of the business to reflect what it is that we do.

I now work with a fulfilment house called Fulfilmax who store all of my stock and pick it and package it and post it when there is an online order.

Having that infrastructure in place is really important to me because it’s now the heart of our operation and it means I can focus on marketing, messaging, social media and growing the portfolio of clients that I work with and the products we can offer.

Did you have another job before Lux Boutique Outlet?

I worked in banking for 11 years and took a career break to have my two daughters.

So my background is not fashion but I’ve always loved fashion, it’s always been a big passion of mine.

I always wanted to work for myself and I was genuinely looking for my lightbulb moment. When it came, I thought I would give it a bash.

The business has just gone from strength to strength since then. I’m really delighted that I’m doing something I really love now.

What’s a typical day like?

I don’t have many days that are the same. When you’re running your own business, you are doing so many different aspects.

I could be dealing with clients or talking to prospective new clients or dealing with customers.

I could be at the warehouse, going through the new collections, doing social media and marketing. Or I could be planning events or doing accounts.

Every day is different, which is what I really enjoy. There’s nothing mundane about it at all. It’s very varied.

Highs and lows of having your own business?

Sometimes there are pressure points from running your own business and sometimes it can be a bit too busy – but that’s quite a nice problem to have.

The highs are when customers are excited about the products and they are really well received.

Making customers happy – when they feel like a million dollars after buying something at an outlet price – is probably the high point for me.

Future plans?

The reaction so far has been amazing and we’ve already had enquiries from places like Australia and Finland, so we are going to launch global shipping soon.

Our plan is to get more clients on board who sell high-end fashion brands and just get more products in front of our customers. In a nutshell – growth.

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