Slick Willy's

by Insiders Dunedin

We talked with Amy Henderson the owner Slick Willy's, a Dunedin based fashion boutique. Slick Willy's is a well-known establishment in Dunedin, the iconic neon store sign stands out on the George Street retail landscape. Originally located upstairs only, a second ground floor store has been opened to offer a more refined selection of up-market garments. Slicks sells over 60 national and international brands and has been clothing some of the city's best dressed people for a number of years now.  

You took over Slick Willy’s in 2005. What is Slick's story and what are some of the challenges you've faced in growing the business?
Next year will be our tenth birthday of running the store. Slicks was opened in 1983 by Mike Collins I worked for him as a teenager and actually grew up with his kids, we went to the same school and lived in Mosgiel. Mike got sick with cancer and before he died he asked me if I'd like to buy the store at the time I was about 19/20 and had no money.

He sadly passed away later that year and the store was then run by myself and his wife Jan, she also has Hype store in the Golden Centre so she had her hands full! The next year there was an opportunity to buy the store so with the help of my sister and the bank (100% finance!!!) we bought the store.

I'd say the challenges at first were trying to get cool brands to stock with us. I literally begged Stolen Girlfriends Club to be in the store and once they did I begged a few more brands until we had our epic brand list.

These days I'd say the biggest obstacles is being competitive with all the online stores. There are soooo many stores you have to compete with and at times it's really hard to match their prices and give free shipping, etc. Many of them are such big companies it's easier and cheaper for them to do this, whereas we are so small in comparison and often can't compete which sucks!

Who are your customers?
We have such loyal customers that only shop with us and we are so appreciative of them without people like this we would not have a store at all. Our customers always have mostly been students. However, now we have set up the high-end store downstairs we have opened up to a whole new market. We now have something for people ranging between 16 to 70 years old. I like that you can pretty much find something for everyone and we are now getting so much more foot traffic.

What do you enjoy most about running your store?
The thing I enjoy most is the customers, we really get to know them and often they become our friends. I also love meeting the people from the brands we stock and seeing the new collections, it's really exciting.

What is one of the best things about living in Dunedin?
The thing I love about Dunedin is the weather (lol not). It's the fact that my family and friends are here. Dunedin is such a beautiful city with tons to do especially if you're into the outdoors. We have an outdoor salt pool how cool is that!

What are other places in Dunedin that you like to shop, eat/drink and relax at?
Other places i like to hang out are the Perc or Kiki for my coffee and I love the Esplanade this is my local in the weekend as I live out by the beach.

Any future plans for Slicks?
The future plans for slicks are to have a bigger online appearance and I think next year we will do a refit in the upstairs store as it has been left neglected since we opened downstairs.

Slick Willy's
323 George Street 
Dunedin
p. 03 477 1406
www.slickwillys.co.nz

 

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