A look around Bequeath
Exposed fashion blogger Kate snapped Bequeath, the Broomhill boutique with a twist.
Words & pictures, Kate Mitchell
I have been a devotee of dress agencies since I was a teenager, when I first realised the sheer genius of a shop selling people’s gorgeous pre-loved clothes, many of them designer, or the quirky labels you didn’t come across on the high street.
Here was the kind of shop where, despite my Saturday job salary, I could actually afford some of the lovely unique and classic items that suited me best; the trend in 2003 for low slung jeans and crop tops was fine if you were Beyonce in the Crazy in Love video.
I never outgrew the thrill of finding something original and rare, right from someone else’s closet. So when pre-loved womenswear boutique Bequeath opened in Broomhill earlier this year, I was more than just a little excited; I think there was definitely a dress agency shaped gap in the shopping landscape of Sheffield, and I was delighted Bequeath came to fill it.
Walking into this delicate dream of a shop is like discovering something of a fashion lover’s wonderland; a room full of affordable designer and high-street treasures made me feel slightly giddy as I wandered round for the first time, as if I’d been handed a free pass to raid the closet of someone very stylish.
Bequeath’s website describes the store as “a fashion boutique with a twist…all items in-store and online have been pre-owned and ‘bequeathed’ to sell on.”
If dress agencies, with their trade in pre-loved clothes, have traditionally been seen as the resting place of heavy sequined dresses worn just the once for a Christmas party, shops like Bequeath prove they certainly don’t deserve such a reputation.
On the contrary, Bequeath is a tranquil haven of modern classics from brands like Topshop, Malene Birger, Michael Kors, Zara and Mulberry, to name a few, and everything is in great condition — and totally affordable.
Everything on Bequeath’s rails is handpicked by owner Molly Hill, from women who want to make a little space in their wardrobes whilst making some money (I’d be right back to spend it on one of the gorgeous bags).
After a lingering browse, I chatted to Molly about starting her business, her passion for fashion, and her style must-haves.
So how does Bequeath work?
I sell clothes for you (as opposed to buying them from you) and split the sale price 50/50 between the business and the client. I usually keep items in the shop for six weeks and pay clients at the end of the month for whatever has sold in that month. If any items don’t sell, I either donate them to a charity called Safe at Last or give them back to the owner — your clothes, your choice.
What made you want to open your own boutique?
I’ve always been interested in fashion and so working within the industry was something I wanted to do. I studied Art and Design at Chesterfield College, later specializing in fashion and textiles, and then I started selling my own clothes on an app called Depop. I was selling things quickly and was happy to be clearing my wardrobe of clothes I’d never worn, or was never going to wear again. I told my friends and family, who were also keen on selling items they’d never wear again and I sold their items on a commission basis, 60-40.
After a few weeks I thought I’d create my own website for fun to sell from there too. I designed and started the site from scratch and started trading online in May 2014.
Online sales were good and I was quite happy with how things were progressing. On the off chance something would come of it, I looked at the Prince’s Trust website and applied for one of their courses. From there I took an intensive business course and later pitched my business idea to a panel of executives. I was successful and received a grant from the Prince’s Trust to help start my own proper business, which enabled me to open Bequeath in March 2015, with the help of my family.
As well as pre-loved clothes, you also stock some new and original designer collections in the boutique. Tell us more.
Bequeath stocks brand new individual statement necklaces, jewellery and other accessories.
A brand new collection of exclusive Anna Roberts dresses has also arrived in the boutique. All garments are handmade and manufactured in Sheffield, by Anna herself, a Sheffield based designer.
Dresses can be tailored, made to measure or specially designed for any occasion and they’re exclusive to Bequeath.
We launched Anna’s new range at one of our girls’ nights on June 19. I hold a girls’ night once a month for drinks, nibbles and shopping.
What are your favourite brands?
I love Zara, H&M and Topshop, and I mainly shop there for my clothes. I have a subscription to Vogue so I like to try out all the latest trends and seasonal styles showcased in the magazine; I like to experiment with different styles.
I’m a sucker for anything by Louis Vuitton, Mulberry or Chanel, which explains why my accessories and make-up collection are all by these designers!
As I left Bequeath after chatting to Molly, I knew I’d be back, and that it would become a firm favourite.
I’m actually quite smitten with this new addition to the classy independent shops we’re spoiled with in Sheffield. And this one was conceived of a genuine passion for good style and flair, which is clear from every item Molly hangs on the rails.
Shop in-store, online and follow Bequeath
Bequeath, 456-458 Glossop road, Broomhill.
Visit the online boutique for new arrivals and to shop Bequeath’s collection online.
Get 10% off your visit on purchases over £15.
Do you have things you’d like Bequeath to sell?
Contact Molly: Give her a call on 0114 266 4646, email Bequeathclothing@outlook.com, or pop into the boutique to have a chat.
Sometimes Bequeath might have stock to sell before Molly can take more, so check Bequeath homepage or Twitter for updates on whether she is taking new stock.
If she isn’t retaking stock when you’ve had your wardrobe clear-out, you can ask Molly about joining her client list – she has a waiting list of people to call when she is re-taking so it might be possible to add you to the list.