We love nothing more than sharing style secrets with our beloved readers but TBH, I actually can’t believe we’re sharing this one. When we came across The Mercantile, our lives (or to be less dramatic, wardrobes), changed forever. Based in New Zealand, The Mercantile is an editorialised online store offering a curated mix of vintage and new designers launched by Georgia Cherrie and Paris Mitchell.
What makes The Mercantile so special? The presentation of the product makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a fashion shoot—every piece is expertly styled and it is clear that the site’s curators—Georgia and Paris, have a keen eye for what makes a vintage piece translate in 2016.
Keep scrolling to read our interview with Georgia Cherrie about how The Mercantile came to be, and what they hope to achieve (and then scroll a little further to check out the latest arrivals).
Who What Wear Australia: How did The Mercantile come about?
Georgia Cherrie: We have always been drawn to vintage clothing, Paris’s [co-founder Paris Mitchell] mother has the most beautiful collection and from a young age we would raid her wardrobe, so I guess our love and appreciation for it started there. The Mercantile itself came about when Paris and I both arrived back in New Zealand at the beginning of last year. We had been living overseas, Paris in New York and myself in Barcelona and felt inspired to start something new. A simple idea to visit California to source vintage developed into what The Mercantile is today.
WWW: What did you set out to achieve by launching The Mercantile?
GC: On a personal level we wanted to create something we were passionate about and that ultimately made us happy. Work can be such a tedious thing; loving your job is crucial yet often one of the hardest things to achieve in life. On a business level we wanted to create something unique that stood out as its own.
WWW: Where do you source your vintage?
GC: We primarily source from California—it’s the place that shaped what The Mercantile is and its where it all started for us, however we are looking to expand our network and Japan is top of our list.
WWW: You have a beautiful selection of new labels—how do you discover new brands?
GC: There is such an impressive movement of artisan labels right now and with the world being as in-touch and accessible as it is, discovering new designers is almost overwhelming. It’s just about being part of the right communities on social media like Instagram, and staying up to date with publications you feel connected to. We are subscribed to Encens, The Gentle Woman and Vogue.
WWW: What brands should we keep an eye on in 2016?
GC: Our absolute favourite is Maryam Nassir Zadeh, her shoe collection is the latest addition to The Mercantile and we are so in love with every design. Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier or Hillier Bartley (ex-designers from Marc Jacobs) are two ladies we are keeping our eye on, and if you are after wardrobe essentials, our in-house label Paris Georgia basics is one to watch.
WWW: How did you take The Mercantile from idea to conception?
GC: We just did it—it’s so easy to talk about ideas and not put them into play. With The Mercantile we just booked our flights to L.A. and the rest was such a natural progression. A lot of late nights and working on weekends, but when you love what you do its all worth it.
WWW: How did you grow your social following?
GC: We always knew Instagram would be an important profile for the store so we committed to it from day one. We share every thought, inspiration and thing we do; it’s fun and we love staying in touch with our followers.
WWW: What has been the best business and fashion advice you’ve ever received?
GC: Stay to true to your concept and identity and invest in essentials; they are the building blocks for every good wardrobe.
WWW: What is your proudest moment to date?
GC: When American Vogue did a feature on us, we felt so honoured and it has opened so many doors for us, like working with amazing publications like Who What Wear Australia.
WWW: You shoot beautiful editorial images that really hero the product in an elevated way—do you think this is what sets you apart from other vintage e-tailers?
GC: We like to think so—it was definitely our ambition to create something unique and it is always nice to hear people perceive us that way. The fashion industry is so saturated now, it is harder than ever to produce something different, however co-founder and The Mercantile creative director Paris Mitchell has such a strong vision and that is so distinctly Mercantile.