Interview: Maze Clothing
Maze Clothing was founded in 1985. Maze is a family-run business with stores in Bristol and Bath. They source and carefully edit a selection of men's and women's fashion from over fifty of the finest international collections.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
Hi Rhiannon, I’m really well. I’m currently at home with my youngest daughter, juggling playtime with select pieces of work! Thank you so much for including me on your lovely website.
Tell us a little about your background.
My parents opened the first Maze store in 1985 when I was 5 years old and the fashion industry has been part of my life ever since. That’s not to say I planned to follow in their footsteps. After school I headed to London to study art history and I followed that path for a long time. After a stint working for Christie’s auction house and almost a decade in the publications department of the Whitechapel Gallery, I decided to leave the art world and come to work in the family business.
What does your shop sell?
Maze sells a curated selection of womenswear, menswear and lifestyle products for good living. The business is built on the idea of selling the things we love, and we appeal to those who care more about individual style than fly-by-night trends.
Why did you call your shop Maze?
We wanted a single word that would be memorable and graphic - one that could be applied equally to menswear and womenswear and that wouldn’t have a bearing on the product we sold. Glenn and Gill agreed on the name Maze and 34 years later we are still flying the Maze flag.
How has your creative process changed since the start?
When my parents started the business, retail was totally different. There was little competition from the high street and no internet! They could focus on finding the collections they loved and presenting them in store. It was very hands on, very immediate. While that’s still a key part of how we work, we’ve widened our scope to create an online business and embrace social media. Our stores have also become more decorative and experiential, so I’d say we’ve definitely expanded our creative process over the years!
Do you have any favourite pieces from your shop that you adore at the moment?
I love the Universal Works x Birkenstock collaboration that’s just dropped into our menswear department, and I’m a huge of fan of the new trouser shapes that we’re seeing in womenswear. The Market Trouser from YMC is a personal favourite, as are the Health Trouser from Sessun.
I completly adore our exciting new brand for this season, Air & Grace. Their fun styles and comfort technology are perfect for busy but always stylish women. We are very proud to be the only retailer in the Bristol/Bath area that stock this brand.
What made you realise you wanted to start a retail business?
Maze has been around since I was 5 years old, so for me it wasn’t so much a question of starting a retail business as a desire to continue one. I have very strong memories of being at the shop as a kid, roller skating through it and playing in the boxes. It was home from home and still is. When my parents started discussing their future retirement, I realised that I couldn’t imagine Maze not being there. I want the business to survive, so I have to carry it forward.
When using social media to promote your brand, which platform feels best to use?
Instagram. I love its visual, curatorial approach, and the stories are great for casual, everyday footage.
What does your typical working day look like?
I’m slightly obsessed with the website and often check the overnight sales on my phone before doing anything else! At the moment, I’m in the unusual position of being home with a baby, but once her nursery routine starts I’ll be juggling the drop off, a school run for my eldest, then into our head office to tackle whatever the day throws at me. My days are hugely varied as I’m involved with every aspect of the business.
What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?
Don’t dress for anyone but yourself. Find the clothes that make you feel happy and you will have found your personal style.
What can we look forward to from Maze in the upcoming year?
We recently refurbished our flagship store in Clifton, and we’re in the process of refurbishing our sister store, Maze at No.18. Then I hope to turn my attention to the website. We’re also excited to change our roster of labels and introduce some lovely new collections.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own shop?
Be ambitious. We’re a small company but we try to punch above our weight, not just in terms of product and styling, but in expertise and customer relations too. Aiming high keeps it interesting and drives business forward.