Attentive and demanding, this Chennai store wants to make slow-shopping fashionable
A click here, a swipe there, or a quick hop to the mall to buy something before a special occasion and go with it – the current scourge of the cash-rich, time-strapped urban Indian is “shopping”. fast” and fashion based in Chennai. Retailer Lata Madhu seems invested in changing that.
“We finished with speed. Good shopping takes dedication, not overspending. One must first understand exactly what one should choose and how the purchase will add value to one’s wardrobe or to one’s life. Shopping well is in itself an art. You have to enjoy the shopping experience, especially when you spend a lot of money on something,” Lata Madhu, founder of Collage told Business Today.
Madhu recently closed a fully operational store to move into a 4,000 square foot heritage property to create a shopping experience that borders on vintage. The aesthetics of the interiors and the comfort offered by the salons of the boutique redefine shopping. Madhu spent seven months simply transforming the space into a studio for designers to display their clothes.
“Designer garments should be honored with great presentation simply for the craftsmanship and skill that goes into making them. Likewise, those who want to acquire these pieces should have the time and space to make wise choices. that it can be easy to strategize and model your business for fast turnover, I decided to shift my work towards rich experience. Slow is good,” Madhu said.
Branches of frangipani and mango trees line the large windows of the two-story building with open rooms, hallways, and balconies. The open verandas have been covered with glass. The halls are lined with clothes racks and lampposts wedged to illuminate the display. Corner lounges have been created for customers to sit and explore the clothes or jewelry they wish to choose.
Madhu calls her collection “everyday luxury”. There are dresses, skirts, dresses, sarees, tunics and more. “The clothes I also show are meant for sustained use, something people can wear over and over again. They are expensive but add value to a wardrobe. It is entirely possible to incorporate high-quality clothing into everyday life. This is where mindful shopping comes in,” she said.
Collage is home to over 40 leading designer clothing brands and selected costume jewelry. There are shopping assistants to advise and help choose a set and create a look for customers. There is even a relaxation area on the ground floor for drivers. Designer brands on display are – Kiran Uttam Ghosh, Payal Khandwala, Itrh, Lajjoo C, Rajdeep Ranawat, Lovebirds, 431-88 Shweta Kapur, Aseem Kapoor, Sukhet Dhir, Amrich, Jayanti Reddy, Pooja Keyur, Raji Ramniq, Madsam Tinzin, Pero and more.
“We are in no rush and we want our customers to have time to make conscious purchases. I even stop people from picking up clothes without thinking. Shop wisely and be happy with what you take home. It’s time to slow down a bit and raise the bar for a quality experience,” she said.
The property, an old two-storey house in Nungambakkam, has been rented out. “During the pandemic, many owners of large homes moved into apartments and either sold their old homes or rented them out due to high maintenance. It was exactly what I was looking for. I decided to close my jazzy store and tone down the shopping experience at Collage,” said Madhu (52). She has been an entrepreneur for more than two decades. “Nothing in the old house was destroyed or altered when she converted it into a store, even the old light switches were kept to give the antique charm,” she said.
Doesn’t it want to match the quick-selling pitch of high street stores? “Not at all. We’re in no rush. Come to our place, when you have time.