Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

VADA:K – ​​An All New Inspiring Place For Fashion!

Young Crossmaglen business woman, Karen Hanratty has enjoyed huge success since opening her unique, high fashion boutique situated in the heart of Crossmaglen in December last year.  Karen had originally started out with her Facebook Business Page:

Speaking to The Examiner about the fledgling womenswear retail outlet which has reached a worldwide customer base, 25 year old store owner, Karen explains:

“My aim was to find new and exciting brands that weren’t already in the Irish market; as soon as local people became aware of my Facebook Business Page, I was inundated with queries as to where people could physically see what I had to offer, somewhere local to visit, so a ‘bricks and mortar’ store was the best solution to meet this customer demand from the fashion conscious locals.”

The store is the culmination of years of preparation by Karen who, after a lifelong obsession with fashion and design picked up from helping in her Grandmothers’ clothes store and working in the family jewellery business as a child, earned a degree in Fashion Buying Management from University of Westminster, London and gained invaluable experience working as a Fashion Assistant with Celebrity Stylist Gok Wan and as a buyer for Primarks’ European Head Office.

The store has gone from strength to strength in the last four months, gaining massive recognition both nationally and internationally and attracting the attention of well-known fashion experts such as Sonia Lennon, Brendan Courtney and Vogue Williams.

In fact, just last weekend, Vogue Williams chose Karen as a finalist in the Carton House Most Stylish Lady Competition at the Fairyhouse Races for an outfit she wore from the “For Love & Lemons” range stocked exclusively by VADA:K.  The outfit, including a beautiful sculptured lace headpiece created by local milliner Alison McNally from Hats off Ally, struck a real chord with fashion expert Williams who is such a lover of the leading Australian label that she plans to visit VADA:K to check out the entire “For Love & Lemons” range.

“This is what VADA:K is all about,” says Karen.

“Showcasing new and exclusive brands for women that haven’t been stocked in Ireland before.  With “For Love & Lemons” in particular, I’m the first and only boutique in Ireland to ever stock it.  It’s made up of very fashion forward lace pieces and has a huge celebrity following from the likes of Vogue Williams and Kendall Jenner, to Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift who were both wearing “For Love & Lemons” pieces only a few days ago.

“I’ve found that since word has got out that I stock this range people have travelled from afar to visit the store.  I’ve also started a free delivery service and such is the reach of social media, I now supply customers across the UK and as far as Dubai.”

Karen’s VADA:K social media profile has certainly allowed her to reach a global audience as well as generating a following from very high profile faces on the Irish fashion scene.

Two of Ireland’s most well-known fashion experts, Brendan Courtney and Sonia Lennon recently chose the same dress which made her a finalist at Fairyhouse, as their “pick of the week” on the social media platform they have created for showcasing Independent Retailers.

The young entrepreneur says fashion conscious shoppers now want something different from the “mass production high street ranges.”

“I’m seeing a lot of people coming to visit the shop from Newry, Carlingford, and Dublin, shoppers bypassing the city to come to Crossmaglen for something different.”

With unique high quality brands of fashion for women of every age and clothing and accessories for every occasion, it’s easy to see why VADA:K has taken off.  Karen’s exclusive ranges are stocked in sizes 6 to 16 and she also stocks stylish plus size pieces in sizes 16 to 24.

From evening wear to day wear, casual to formal, elegant mother of the bride/groom attire, unique wedding guest dresses and new arrivals for Communions to unique, one-off pieces with an edgy, cool London twist, there is a style and size to suit everyone – and at affordable prices too.

Karen’s expertise in fashion and retail makes a trip to VADA:K more than just a shopping excursion.  Her keen eye for design and fit means she is on hand to provide style tips and advice and help the customer choose something suited to their own style and needs.

“It’s all about customer service,” explains Karen,

“At VADA:K the customer gets more of a personal shopping experience.  I want women to look well and feel good about themselves. I want them to know they can come in and get help in choosing something. The off-street location is also very private and makes the experience very personal and exclusive.

“Even the packaging and wrapping is of a high end feel so that from beginning to end the shopping experience feels special.”

Her clothing and accessories range also includes footwear, handbags and jewellery and for a head-to-toe service, Karen has teamed up with Milliner Alison McNally from Hats Off Ally, who can create stunning one-off headpieces to match any of the outfits in store.

Following her hugely popular Easter offers, Karen promises more seasonal offers throughout the year as well as new arrivals weekly, lay away payments and free delivery service through the Facebook page or by contacting the store.

The future looks bright for VADA:K and, with the ambitious young fashionista at the helm, plans include further online presence and expansion so that VADA:K may become a household name on the international fashion scene.

Karen is showcasing her Spring/Summer collection at the fashion event “50 Shades of Fashion” in Inniskeen Community Centre Friday 24th April at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available in store.

VADA:K is open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 6pm, excluding Wednesdays. Follow VADA:K on Facebook or contact the store on 00353 874404646 for further information.