Port Independent is an established street wear and vintage clothing shop that is located in St Thomas’ Street, Sunderland. The store has been trading for around three years and has proven to be extremely popular attracting people of all ages. However, the brand was gender restricted as it only sold menswear.
The business is renowned for its menswear and online trading selling its instore brand ‘Port Independent’, additional to this Preston runs a separate company called ‘Simple Clothing’ which also features in store. Simple Clothing not only sells in Port Independent but it is also present in seven Topman retailers up and down the country.
For the past two year Port Independent have been trading online predominantly menswear on ASOS Marketplace as Preston said: “We were always ranked pretty high in the ratings of the boutiques but we knew we would never be able to get into the top 10 unless we did start selling womenswear.”
As the brand is gender specific Preston decided he wanted to expand and improve his brand and “test the water” by branching into women’s wear.
The women’s market was unfamiliar to Preston so consequently he recruited a female model that is knowledgeable in the field of fashion and the industry.
As a result of this they expanded and have just finished their forth photo-shoot for their womenswear which has been extremely popular as Port Independents model Alex said: “I think the women’s wear is a great addition to the range because it has proved really really popular”.
Port Independent’s main aim is to get into the top 10 rankings on ASOS Marketplace, as they set up their new strategy and expanded into womenswear it has boosted the business massively. The brand is currently sitting second highest grossing boutique.
Although the boutique is still largely influenced by men’s fashion, there is definitely a break through with vintage women’s wear.
Preston said: “At the minute our boutique on ASOS is 90 per cent menswear and 10 per cent womenswear, our aim is to get it running around 50/50; 50 men’s and 50 women’s but we don’t want to compromise our menswear we just want to keep improving our womenswear”.
It is impressive how far the shop has come on and improved considering Preston opened Port Independent when he was only a teenager and began the business from home.
He said: “I first of all started selling things from my mum’s house as I was ordering items in bulk online and selling them obviously making a profit until I had enough money to buy my business.
“Both companies were born from my passion for design, I like designing things on the computer using Illustrator and Photoshop.
“We’ve always got new projects going on we like to reinvent old ideas, we like to come up with new ideas keeping things fresh for the customer.”