WALKING into concept store So Many Queens in the picturesque village of Perroy, you know you’ve arrived in an oasis of quality, beauty and good taste that’s reflected first and foremost in the collection of high-quality fashion and accessories on display as well as in the airy, serene space that houses them.
Co-owners Katharina Vaquero and Katharina Peters nurtured their growing business over many years with dedication, good judgement and no small amount of passion. Here they share with us how they got to where they are, and why you should drop by for a visit …
Katharina(s), please tell us a bit about yourselves. How did you meet, become partners, and how do you complement each other as a team?
We first met in our garden as neighbors! Sharing the same name, Katharina (nickname “Kat”), and most importantly the same values and humor, we quickly became friends and since 2012 we’ve been business partners. We form a very successful team as we complete each other: one of us is more hands-on and head-driven, the other visionary and communicative. The perfect match!
Do you have backgrounds in fashion or was this a passion you developed alongside other careers?
We both stopped our first business careers in tourism, aviation, and IT when we became mothers and started it off again when we met each other in our garden. Our projects evolved slowly but continuously and intuitively.
How has So Many Queens developed step-by-step from its start to the present?
We grew from clothes-swapping parties to founding and organizing the Style Market [a handpicked selection of independent designers and boutiques assemble twice annually at the Domaine de Bon-Boccard at St-Prex to sell their unique, chic creations]. The success of our own stand at the Style Market encouraged us to continue to offer beautiful, small and independent labels. So we started to present our collections twice a year at the beautiful Maison du Château à Allaman during a three-day pop-up event.
From there it was a small step to opening our proper brick-and-mortar concept store that we manage alongside our wholesale/B2B (business-to-business) showroom [representing Swiss and European fashion labels that are unique to the Swiss Romandy].
We wanted to find a special, magical place and not ‘just a shop’ and we believe we found it with our former épicerie de Perroy !
What have been some of the challenges you faced along the way?
The major challenge was to jump! To take the risk and invest in labels that we loved in the hope our clients love them, too. Our credo is: “we sell what we’d love to buy”.
When did you open the doors to So Many Queens in Perroy and why did you believe it was the right moment?
We opened our doors at the end of November. As we started to work much more with fashion labels and not only accessories we wanted to find the right “frame” for them. It’s like with a painting: if the frame doesn’t work, neither does the painting itself. So when we had the possibility to rent this magical place in Perroy we did not have to think very long …
Please describe the brands you offer, why you favor them, and what makes them unique.
We offer small, beautiful and independent labels from the North of Europe. Many are not yet known in Switzerland or in its French part. We offer labels that you don’t find on all the big city highstreets and they convince us with their quality, price, and their classic cuts with a twist. Each label has its own story, which we know and love [and together they are the inspiration for the name So Many Queens]!
Do you have a particular philosophy when choosing your merchandise? Do you have a special kind of woman in mind?
We believe that each woman should have a suitable stock of basics — casual but classy — in her wardrobe. Strong pieces that are effortless and ready to be mixed. You won’t find the latest fashion hypes that are out of favour in a few weeks, but reliable and unique fashion from labels that you can’t find everywhere. Get off the highstreet and drive up to Perroy and let us surprise you!
Perroy, which is located between Nyon and Lausanne, is a beautiful, charming location, but a little off the beaten track. Why did you choose it?
I’ve known this place for a long time and each time I passed it I started dreaming … so when I found out it was for rent we quickly jumped on it. As I explained earlier, it’s the perfect frame for our selection of clothes and accessories.
We want to be different, we believe we are different, and hence we needed to have a different place. A place with a story, a magical place … and … not to be forgotten: Tristan – the world’s best chocolatier – is just around the corner! So there are many reasons why one should visit Perroy.
Many people dream of opening their own boutique, but don’t do it for a variety of reasons. In your opinion, what creates a good foundation for ongoing success?
We’re not business coaches, but what was important for us is that we can finance it ourselves. You need lots of passion, love and heart to open your own space. You need to be convinced about what you do and why you do it. ♥
All photos by Creative Living Geneva.
Main photo caption: Katharina Vaquero (left) and Katharina Peters, co-owners of So Many Queens concept store/boutique in lovely Perroy village.