Donna Ida x Iris: International Women’s Day Interview & Pop Up

We are excited for our pop up at Iris Battersea on International Women's Day, Friday 8th March. The perfect day to bring your friends and shop our latest collection, you'll receive styling advice from the Jean Queen herself (yes, Donna will be there!), and celebrate IWD with two fabulous, female-founded brands. Donna will also gift one lucky shopper their Donna Ida purchase made in-store on the day! We do hope you will join us.


WHEN: Friday 8th March, 10am - 6pm
WHERE: 143-145 Northcote Road, London, SW11 6PX
RSVP: / +44 7946 710416


To mark International Women's Day, we were lucky to have a chat with Annie Pollet, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Iris. We hope you enjoy our interview with Annie, below.


Annie wears Minnie in Working Girl & Isabel Marant Etoile Top, from Iris


1. What was your inspiration for the first Iris boutique and how has the business evolved?


Iris started when my twins were three years old. Previous to becoming a mum, I'd had a busy job in fashion, but wasn't sure how I would juggle the travelling and long stints away from home with the demands of looking after small children. I had recently moved into what was then the still undiscovered area of Queen's Park, which was quite under the radar. With my friend Sarah, we came up with the idea of opening a sweet, multi-brand boutique in the area - I still remember how a few of the locals were quite cross as they couldn't believe we were opening a store selling dresses when they still didn't have a good butcher, fishmonger or deli in the area... but we proved them wrong as we soon became established and part of the beating heart of the Queens Park community.


2. Can you take us through a 'typical' day as Creative Director of Iris?

It's a cliché but no two days are the same. As Creative Director my reach is fairly wide over quite a few aspects of the business: from the buying of our brands, to the development of our own brand collection, to our marketing strategy and visual marketing objectives - you pretty much have to give your view on everything from a creative perspective and sometimes my head is swirling. I love the fact I'm often on the move and get to travel to the London villages of our stores - I like seeing how much London can change from one village to another and how women's needs and shopping habits can vary, it's fascinating! I also travel to Paris for buying appointments (we stock quite a few French brands) which is fun too - I love seeing the newness and getting inspiration from the brands we buy, or to have a quick pit stop (if we are lucky) at Merci. I feel lucky as Creative Director of Iris. Though it is a fairly complicated business spanning retail, digital, production and even wholesale, there is always so much to learn and continually be inspired by, though there are never enough hours in the day!



3. Can you you tell us about your own brand, by Iris?

The label by Iris grew organically from what started as purely a multi-brand business. We love the brands we buy, but there was always something that we felt our customers needed that we couldn't always provide, and it seemed logical to start providing this ourselves. From our years as a multi-brand boutique, we had a unique insight into what sold well, what women were looking for, and who the customer was. We started this collection with literally a few linen jersey t-shirts and it has evolved to now account for 50% of what we sell in our Iris stores - we are so proud of this achievement and know there's still so much potential for growth - it really is an exciting journey.


4. What makes a partnership between Iris and Donna Ida special? 

We have sold a lot of denim brands over the years but Donna Ida has been the hugest success at Iris and we have been bowled over by the demand for the brand in our stores. Famed for its incredible fit, you can really see that so much diligent work and attention to what the customers ask for, has gone into this brand. Maybe because like us, Donna's background was in retail, she has succeeded in creating a denim brand that is on trend yet not too off-puttingly "fashionista" for real women. They can wear and feel put together, feminine, and on top of their game, as they run around doing all the million things women have to do in their daily lives. Donna Ida is also super friendly and helpful as a company, which has made working with them a pleasure, and we are delighted that it looks like this partnership will grow - we are so happy to be stocking Donna Ida at Iris.



5. What does the next chapter hold for Iris?

I think we'll continue to expand all of our channels at Iris. We want to grow and improve on our digital platform, and are also open to opening new stores - the big push is for the growth of our own brand collection by Iris, but we still love and will continue to buy the amazing brands like Donna Ida, as customers really love the mix between the two and this business model is working really well for us.


We wish you all a wonderful International Women's Day, and hope to see you on Friday 8th March at Iris Battersea for our Donna Ida x Iris Pop Up.


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