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essence fashion

How? Jonathan was very excited about putting Questa online. One of the last things he said to me about Questa was: “Sis, while I’m away you need to sell at least one item online.” I sold three items. Since then, I’ve sincerely tried to keep it going, but I’ve had to stop.

Why have you stopped? We are so busy at the shop that I’d rather put my energy into our customers and give them the personal approach, customer service and advice we have always been proud of. I was getting into a bit of a state with the online side of it – it’s so time consuming, and I was becoming very distracted by it, faffing around trying to package up items and ship them off, then dealing with returns because they weren’t the right size and so on.

Do you think your customers would like this service? I’m not sure, it seems our customers still love the experience of coming into Questa, and appreciate the personal approach, customer service and advice.

Which is your most successful fashion label sold in Questa? Marc Cain is a definite favourite, and Jonathan was responsible for that successful choice. Their clothes literally fly off the shelves. They take over 60% of what we buy, positioning us as one of the largest stockists in the UK.

Why is Marc Cain such a popular choice? Fit, quality, style, longevity, choice of quality fabric, and their quality control is exceptional. Around 80–90% of their clothes are wash and go – even their coats! The great thing about this brand is that you can roll in season to season, so they bring out a new piece for a season that you can mix and match to the previous – they are very clever. We can also re-order sizes for customers and the turnaround is a matter of a couple of days.

What other brands do you stock? Michael Kors – great value for money. Wildfox, Charli Twisted Muse, Save the Queen, Me & Thee, Greenstone Coats, IKKS, Repeat Cashmere, Autumn Cashmere, Vilagallo jackets, which are very trendy and complement our huge selection of jeans.


You are indeed well known for your huge stock of jeans – what do you stock and do you think they will ever go out of fashion? Never. We picked a brand of jean for every size and shape. We have James Jeans, Hudson Jeans, 7 For All Mankind, old classics, and IDA jeans. High waist, bootleg, skinny – you name it, we have it.

Amanda, do you actually like shopping? No – I really don’t. I consider myself very lucky and buy most of my clothes in Questa. I get frustrated that many shops don't help you – that's why I am adamant we help customers find what they want.

If you could change Questa, what would you change? I would love to honour Jonathan’s ultimate dream. He would have loved to have a glass lift going up to another floor filled with accessories. I will have to win the lottery first!

Which accessories do you currently stock? Hipanema, which is very trendy, and now all the A-listers are wearing their bracelets. A new brand of costume jewellery, inexpensive but impressive, called Last True Angel, Bibi Bijoux, which continues to be very popular with our clients, and Orli jewellery.

What is the worst thing about running Questa? Accounts – in fact anything to do with figures. John, my stepfather, used to do all that stuff; he and Mum are now retired so I delegate to my lovely husband Gregg.

Gregg is tremendously supportive of you and the business. I’m sure I saw him up a ladder the other day. What else do you make the poor man do?

He does so much – he is wonderful, he does what he and I call the ‘blue’ jobs and I do all the ‘pink’ ones!

How’s your lovely mother, Janet? She’s okay – she’s an incredible lady. My mother is a rock and without her we wouldn’t be celebrating 25 years of Questa.

So – how was the celebration party? It was fantastic. Our wonderful clients attended and it was really manic – everybody loved it and requested we do it again next year. We have been really spoilt – we’ve had birthday cards, bouquets of flowers and loads of ‘thank you’ emails. We had a saxophone player as a tribute to Jonathan, as he used to play, and there was a lot of fizz and canapés consumed – we all had a really great night. Can I just say a big thank you to my daughter, Francesca, and her friend Alice for the amazing canapés they made that evening. I’d also like to thank my son, Alex, for being such a wonderful support even though he is thousands of miles away in Australia.

Finally, Amanda, what’s your vision for Questa? I feel very lucky to know such wonderful people, and I just really look forward to continuing at the pace we have, and to another 25 years of Questa.

essence info

Questa Ladies Fashion Boutique 49 High Street, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3DP Website: Telephone: 01932 866636

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