MEET THE LUXURY EXPERT
Today I have the incredible honour of featuring one of the kindest people I have ever met. Sarinah is a true lady. The epitome of discernment, tact and quiet dignity. Astute and extremely observant, we first met at the opening of the first Oscar de la Renta store on Mount Street a few years ago.
I had been invited to the store opening by planner extraordinaire Mark Niemierko and was looking forward to seeing all the beautiful wedding and evening dresses. It happened that a few weeks prior, Oscar de la Renta had a catwalk show and was the first fashion house to pin images directly from the catwalk onto their pinterest boards. This enabled mere mortals like myself to get a close up view of the embellishments, lace and embroideries used on the incredible collection as I sometimes use these details as a source of inspiration for my cake art.
When I arrived at the store, I made my way to the top floor and by sheer coincidence got chatting to Sarinah, whom I did not know was the Store Director at the time. She patiently and indulgently listened as I waxed lyrical about the new collection. My favourite was a lace sheath dress with a periwinkle blue underlay and she offered to show it to me. She even joked that I could probably work for the brand with my passion and knowledge. I will never forget being treated so well and a few months later, she gave me the opportunity to do some work for her which went really well. She is very passionate about delivery a truly luxurious service and I will forever be grateful to have met such a generous and very inspirational lady.
1. Describe your current role please?
My current role is Store Director of the Saint Laurent Flagship store at Old Bond Street. I manage a team of 18 charming personalities.
2. What has been your favourite thing about working for the most iconic luxury brands in retail?
Working with younger people which keeps me on my toes and keeps me mentally and physically fit. Interacting with clients and getting a buzz from making them feel like they experienced the best service at our store. I used to love the act of selling itself and my team think I am lucky on the shop floor but I think it’s being genuine and honest with the clients that closes the deal.
3. Is there one luxury brand you dream of working with?
I am fully ensconced with the Kering Group Brands, a company that has been very good to me.
4. Who is your typical client and has that evolved over time?
In truth there is no such thing as a typical client! Clients are unique and there is never a day when I am not surprised! But as I have changedbrands a few times in my career, I have encountered the same client in some brands and a few that are unique to just that one brand. Clients are definitely more demanding and expect service over and beyond, especially with the onslaught of the online businesses. A successful sales associate is onewho becomes a friend to the client after a period of time and who the client will have the utmost loyalty to.
5. How have the needs of the luxury clients changed over the years?
Clients are definitely more discerning and have more of a social conscience.
6. What are the different types of services you provide?
Aside from the usual tailoring, packaging and delivery, we offer distance selling, home consignments , video and personal styling.
7. What services are crucial for luxury businesses in 2021?
Video styling, home consignments, efficient and prompt delivery services, distance selling.
8. What advice would you give to anyone who wishes to work with a retail luxury brand?
You have to love it if you want to have a prolonged career in the industry- retail is tough, it’s not as glamorous as one thinks – I had the pleasure of having my first Christmas off in 15 years because of lockdown!
9. Where would you recommend going for afternoon tea?
Claridges or The Connaught
10. Can you tell us about the best holiday you've ever had?
Peru by far! Machu Picchu is a must in your bucket list! I was lucky as my husband has Peruvian blood and had never been, so it was all the impetus we needed to push ourselves to make it happen. It was wonderful to meet his long lost cousins and catch up with his family. We are blessed with a daughter who has my spirit of adventure in her so she planned the whole trip with her best friend and tagged along with us!
11. Where do you get your personal stationery from?
From Manila, my daughter sends them to me
12. What's your favourite flower?
Peonies! Love, love, love
13. If you could commission a piece of art, who would it be from?
14. What bath products do you swear by?
I love Laura Mercier crème brulee honey bath, L’Occitaine bath oil, Pureology shampoo
15. When it comes to Champagne do you prefer Champagne from an old house or a new one?
16. What's your favourite restaurant meal?
The best one was in a little corner in Taormina, Trattoria Tiramisu
The best lobster pasta I have ever had and I have had a few and the best tiramisu of course!
17. If you had an unlimited budget for a shopping spree, where would you go?
Difficult one… most likely diamonds first lol
18. If you could get your family anything, what would it be?
A villa that could fit 20 people in Tuscany with an In house Chef and Bartender
19. Where is the best food hall in London?
Harrods Food Hall by far
20. What's your dream credit card and why?
A black Amex Centurion Card, it’s by invitation only
21. Where can we find you on social media
A huge thank you to Sarinah for this interview. If you would like to be featured on this blog, contact Elizabeth Solaru at email@example.com