INTERVIEW: Nicola McClafferty

Nicola McClafferty is one of the founders of Covetique, the online retail destination for preowned luxury fashion. And you know how I love a great designer piece! You can find a luxury piece at a fraction of the cost and most importantly of great quality.

1.From working in ecommerce to creating an online fashion marketplace you have been able to combine your love of fashion into your work. What is your earliest fashion memory?
My mum was an Air Hostess when I was growing up so one of my earliest memories is seeing her go off for flights in her green Aer Lingus uniform. This was at a time that air hostesses were impossibly glamorous and they wore gorgeous silk scarves, pillbox style hats (very Pan-Am) and the gold wing pins. She used to tell me about the beauty parades they'd have before the flights where the air hostesses had to line up and have their nails and eyebrows checked to ensure they were immaculately groomed….I couldn’t imagine that now!

2.What is the must have piece in your wardrobe?
I'm a big fan of a really well cut blazer - worn with the sleeves rolled up. I have so many but you can never go wrong with navy or black . I live in jeans so a great blazer can really smarten them up whether with heels for work or with flats at the weekend.

3.Have you personally added pieces from your own wardrobe into the Covetique marketplace/are you a seller yourself?

Of course I'm a seller! Having a bursting wardrobe a not having the time (or inclination to use Ebay) was one of the reasons I came up with the idea for Covetique. It's particularly great for occasion-wear. I had 9 weddings one summer and so splashed out on a few new dresses – many of them are now on Covetique! I've also bought a few things with the money I've already made from selling – I wish I could tell you who but we have some very stylish wardrobes on Covetique!

4. The Covetique in-house style team quality checks and authenticates each piece. Can you tell me more about this process?
We want to make sure that every designer piece on Covetique is of beautiful quality and in very good condition and so this process is very important for us. We have a team that thoroughly check each piece that comes in to ensure the quality is right. We have an authentication expert who works with us and members of our team have been trained in this. Authentication is clearly a very tricky area but we know what to look for and many of our sellers also provide proof of purchase or store receipts. If there is ever a case that we are unsure about the authenticity the item is not listed.

5. You can follow people of similar size and taste on Covetique, and you ship worldwide. This allows visitors to find their luxury pieces with ease. Was this a major component considered in the design of the site?
Yes we definitely wanted to incorporate a strong social element to Covetique. Shopping is a very personal experience and buying pre-owned items even more so. Out buyers like to know a bit about the piece or even the woman beind the piece. This is why we have the personalised online wardrobes. Buyers can connect with sellers with whom they share taste, size and style. We plan to develop this feature more in time.

6. You launched with Louise Roe offering some fashion tips and her picks from the current Covetique pieces. Can we expect more great personalities each month? If so, who might we be seeing?
It's been great to have Louise on board – she's a big fan of the site. We do plan to have a Guest Editor each month who picks their top pieces from Covetique and who we interview. In June we had Angela Scanlon, stylist and fashion writer for Grazia, Tatler and Sunday Times. In July our Guest Editor is Rosie Fortescu, star of Made In Chelsea. And we have many more to announce so stay tuned….

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