Guest editor Christy Wright interviews Christine Carlton, The September’s Founder and CEO, to learn more about her luxury e-commerce fashion company and why it’s such a good fit with Cougar (hint: it helps that both brands are proudly Canadian). Christine reveals valuable business advice, what Cougars she’s curated for her customers and more…
What’s your first Cougar Shoes memory?
In elementary school I coveted the original Cougar Pillow Boot. All my friends had a pair and I needed to have them. It was the first time I remember how transformational footwear can make you feel. Once I had my Cougar Pillow Boots, I was on cloud nine.
Like Cougar, The September is a unique Canadian brand. How did you start the brand and why?
I saw an opportunity in the Canadian market for a luxury e-commerce fashion company. I repeatedly heard from people how frustrated they were by shopping online as the only e-commerce options were U.S. or international sites. Shopping from these sites were, and still are, materially more expensive once shipping, duties and exchange rates are factored into the final selling price. The September solves this problem by warehousing its inventory in Canada and offering free shipping and free returns. Having worked in luxury retail for over 17 years, I realized I was the right person to bring this opportunity to life.
It’s also a fun name.
Yes! It’s associated with the world of high fashion, it’s the month when major fashion magazines publish their premier issue and when the world’s fashion capitals hold their most important fashion shows. September also has a special place in my heart as I was married in September and my son was born in September.
Why do you think Cougar is a great fit (pun intended!) for The September
Because we only carry items that we know our customers will love. Being a Canadian brand ourselves, we love supporting fellow Canadian companies, more so now than ever given the challenging times we’re all faced with.
We know you’re a big Vivian fan – what do you love most about these best-sellers?
The fun colours! I own the Vivian in wine and am constantly stopped by people asking me where I bought my boots. Needless to say, they’re also incredibly warm and comfortable.
I own the Vivian in wine and am constantly stopped by people asking me where I bought my boots.”
We love how The September is a luxury brand, yet also accessible – there is a fab mix of high and low. How do you achieve that balance?
At The September, we associate luxury with our service more so than the product. We set out to become The Four Seasons of the retail industry, and everything we do ensures our customers enjoy an exceptional shopping experience with us. With that in mind, we believe it’s important to have a range of products and brands that appeal to different lifestyles. We’ve come to know our customers incredibly well and place our product-buys based on their tastes and needs.
How have you curated Cougar for fall – what picks can your customers expect to see?
We’ve bought Cougar as a fashion brand, so customers will see incredible styles from Cougar on our website. We love Cougar’s novelty fabrications and colours, like the faux-fur Vanity in fun metallic silver and the Gwen in black patent with a pop of red laces. And we will still have styles that customers already know and love, like the Original Pillow Boot.
What’s your personal Cougar pick for fall?
I have my eye on the Wahoo Boot in silver, which I’ll wear with black jeans and a white puffer jacket. It’s hard to pick only one, so I’m also coveting the Vanetta in Moss, which I’ll wear with denim jeans and thick cozy sweaters when I’m at my cottage this fall.
What’s next for The September?
Lots! Customers can look forward to new product categories, products and brands emerging weekly. Additionally, we’ll be hosting several events virtually. As an online business, we loved hosting our IRL events and meeting our customers in person, but with that on hold for now, we’re moving our events online. We have a line-up of Master Classes, consultations, trunk shows and more. It’s our customers – their spirit, style and energy – that serve as our inspiration day after day so we’re connecting with them in new and interesting ways!
Written and edited by Christy Wright christywrites.ca.
Photos courtesy of Christine Carlton.