Trading Stories: 40 years in fashion as Jon Clare relocates

Three decades since the first store opened, manager Celine Croke tells us how Jon Clare Nua is moving ahead to satisfy the styles of women today.
Trading Stories: 40 years in fashion as Jon Clare relocates
Marian Devereaux and Celine Croke at the Jon Clare Shop, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

When was the business opened?

Jon Clare fashion was first established in 1975 when Clare Tracey and her husband Tom first opened Fashion Sense in Douglas village. That later extended to town in 1985 where Jon Clare began its story.

Jon Clare Fashion was established back in 1985 when it specialised in mother of the bride and groom outfits, wedding and occasion wear, as well as a wide selection of smart and smart casual wear, coats, jackets, and accessories.

Over 30 years later, today's store, Jon Clare Nua on 92 Oliver Plunkett Street, still does an impressive line of occasion wear for weddings or a day at the races, with brands such as Luis Civit, Lizabella, Daisy May, Kate Copper and Ella Boot to name but a few of the leading brands upstairs.

Conversely, the ground floor is fresh and modern with a stylish New York vibe, where the store showcases leading brands such as Robell, Justwhite, Erfor and stylish coats from Frandsen, Christen 7 Felix, Personal Choice, and many more leading labels.

How has reaction been to the new store?

The reaction to the new store has been overwhelmingly positive and business has been booming since the shop's grand design makeover. Jon Clare stocks leading ladies fashion brands from all over Europe, giving its customers a huge array of styles to choose from. We source all the leading brands out there for our customers and we have a wide range of styles that no other boutique in Cork or Munster can boast of. We also pride ourselves in that we listen to our customers and our brands reflect the styles and fashions going forward each season.

Jon Clare Shop, Oliver Plunkett Street. Picture Dan Linehan
Jon Clare Shop, Oliver Plunkett Street. Picture Dan Linehan

What kind of products do you have in stock?

Upstairs is a luxurious, stylish boutique, featuring exclusive designer brands. Downstairs is more chic and urban, though still featuring quality, stylish brands. The ground floor also features a huge range of accessors from Beany hats with pom poms to cool, funky furry bags from €30 to designer handmade bags that are not so cheap. The new store is a major statement that Jon Clare is moving with the times - and keeping ahead of all the fashion trends.  

Tell us about your customers? What type of people shop there?

Ladies from all over the country travel to shop in Jon Clare Nua, we have a customer base that extends from the ladies that lunch to the ladies, that love new trends and reliable quality in labels and fabrics. The customers that shops in Jon Clare Nua depend on our reliable fabric choices and labels that are of a high quality.

They love that it’s a one-stop shop for a complete outfit.

What sets this shop apart from the other clothes shops in Cork?

Jon Clare Nua, being second generation with over 40 years of experience, provides an experience for all to enjoy, providing garments sourced from all over Europe that are of good quality and design.

We pride in the fact that we can dress all ladies regardless of the occasion, and we have new labels from season to season keeping up to date with ever-changing trends.

What are the big trends at the moment? How much have trends changed since the shop first opened?

The main trends at the moment are cullottes and strong colours, layering is huge and long jewellery and strong statement pieces are a must.

Remember it's great to be in fashion but not all styles suit everyone, so dress for style and comfort and don’t be a victim to style embrace it enjoy it.

Tell us about your staff? Is there a lot of people and have they been there for a while?

I would like to say that the staff are a part of Jon Clare Nua family. They are small in numbers which gives the personal touch and they build up a relationship with our customers which makes a lot of ladies return again and again for that personal touch.

How has business in the city centre changed over the years?

Competition is a major factor in boutiques. so we have to be on top of the game keeping ahead with fashion and styles making sure we have what our customers want so as not to lose that sale.

What's in the future for the business?

The establishing of Irish labels, supplying Irish designs and knits supporting Irish home fashion and showing that we have some of the best fashion in this little country of Ireland.

We are also building a new online shop that we plan to launch at the Cork Jazz Weekend.

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