Deryane Tadd from The Dressing Room in St Albans catches up with Karen Radley for our latest “My Neighbourhood ” Interviews

What is your fashion background:

I started my career in Retail around 30 years ago and worked my way up from the shopfloor to store retail management for high street companies like Warehouse and French Connection.  I worked my way up the ladder to area management and operations and buying.  In 2004 the opportunity to start out on my own came about when my boss sold his French Connection Franchises back to the parent company leaving me with a decision on what to do next.

I decided to start on my own and build my own multi-brand business, that is when The Dressing Room was born.  First opening its doors on my 33rd birthday in May 2005 in a small store in St Albans, the business soon went from strength to strength and I moved location 18 months later to a store 4 times the size on the High Street.  This was soon followed by the website launch back in 2008 www.the-dressingroom.com


Tell me about The Dressing Room:

The Dressing Room is an absolute labour of love!  A multi-brand Contemporary Womenswear Independent that has evolved over 19 years, stocking up to 100 different brands and delivering an exceptional shopping experience within a friendly and laid back environment.

Our brand mix is constantly moving forward changing in line with our customers needs evolving trends.  I have some brands that have been part of my edit for many years such as Paige, Rails, Day Birger et Mikkelsen and Essentiel and then always some newness each season to keep the collections fresh and exciting.  I’ve introduced Ganni, Seventy & Mochi and Louise Mischa this season.

I live and breathe the business and am always thinking of ways to improve and move forward in what we do and empower my team of 20 women to achieve their goals.


Favourite neighbourhood in St Albans: 

Our local area, the Catherdral Quarter is such a lovely place to be.  There are lots of independent stores, coffee shops and nice places to wander around.

Favourite place for brunch:

Toast on Waddington Road, St Albans have just celebrated their 1st birthday and they are fab for brunch or lunch.  The avo on toast or houmous on toast are particular favourites along with their hash brown bites.


Best coffee in St Albans: 

Toast does a great coffee and also Nkora are great for coffee and cake.  


Favourite gallery or museum: 

St Albans Museum in the centre of the city is a real landmark.  Recently renovated, the gallery space is always evolving with changing installations and exhibitions.  Really worth a visit!


Tell us a secret: 

I didn’t grow up in the area but absolutely loved it when we opened our 5th French Connection Franchise store here, so I decided this would be the home for my business and I haven’t looked back and moved to the City a few years after launching The Dressing Room.


Favourite place to shop: 

Well The Dressing Room is the only place I ever shop for fashion and accessories of course!

For great children’s gifts I love Raindrops on Roses and for home accessories then Cositas has some really unique finds.


Favourite place to find inspiration: 

I get inspired when I have time to think and take some time out of my busy schedule (which isn’t often!) But, if I do then I enjoy being out in nature and taking a walk in my local village of Flamstead, St Albans.


Best St Albans destination for a date:

The Odyssey Cinema in St Albans.  An independent cinema in the heart of St Albans in a beautiful listed Art Deco building.  It’s the perfect place for a glass of prosecco and a film in great surroundings.


Favourite Park:

Verulamium Park is right on our door step and is lovely to take a walkaround the lake in the Spring and Summer months.  It’s a really beautiful area with a great play park for children, a café and lovely views.


Favourite food market:

The St Albans Farmers Market is on every 2nd Sunday of the month just in front of the Museum and has a vast array of different artisan and local produce.


Your sanctuary in your neighbourhood:

If I need a bit of time out in a busy working day, then a brief walk through the vintry garden and down past the cathedral is always a great place to take a breath and reset.


What inspires you:

I am inspired by anything that is done well and with thought.  I love great interiors and beautiful outdoor areas.  I can tend to get inspiration from most things if I put my mind to it as I’m always thinking about what I can do next.


This season I’m loving:

There has been a vast shift in how we are dressing over the last 12 months and I am loving it.  Chic and feminine Parisian styled separates and stylish, cool discreet luxury from Scandinavia and all top of my list this season.