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Meet The Boutique: The Modern Draper

To kick off SS23, we headed to Beverley in East Yorkshire to visit Chris and Lisa - owners of contemporary menswear boutique The Modern Draper - to chat Killing Eve fame, running a business with your partner and celebrating wins big and small.

Head to the historic market town of Beverley in East Yorkshire, and nestled amongst the thriving scene of independent businesses, you’ll find two contemporary menswear boutiques owned by The Modern Draper.

Curating over 100 brands sourced from around the world, The Modern Draper’s masterful blend of cult menswear favourites - think YMC, Universal Works and Keen - plus newly introduced brands you’re yet to discover like Kardo and Yarmouth Oilskins, makes it clear why the boutique is a pioneering voice in the independent menswear scene.

Chris and Lisa Terry came together in life and business, settling in this picturesque town thanks to its independent and welcoming nature. “It’s part of our heritage,” says Lisa, “we knew it was the right place for us because our fellow traders were friendly and so generous with their time and advice.”

To kick off SS23, Trouva dropped by the boutique to chat to the team about how The Modern Draper got started, having their curation featured on Killing Eve and celebrating wins after 6 years in the game.

How did The Modern Draper get going?

Chris is steeped in menswear! He began his career working for the legendary stylist and designer Richard Crème at his Manchester boutique L’Homme before opening two stores of his own in Hull in the early nineties. The Modern Draper has been Chris’s dream for as long as I have known him. 

With all of his experience he knew exactly what brands he wanted to stock, the look of the stores and the ethos. So after a move back up North, we initially found an Art Deco building in another town which had been an old draper’s store. We realised that we were doing a ‘modern’ take on a ‘draper’ business – and the name was decided. The building negotiations fell through, but the name stuck.

I’m from a completely corporate background and really only came to The Modern Draper for the initial 6 months to help Chris set up the process side of things. I had every intention of going back to my own world but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“The key to a successful partnership? Have desks at opposite ends of the office and don’t run out of milk!”

How did you and Chris meet?

Chris and I were both part of the clubbing crowd in the late 80s and early 90s. We had a huge group of mutual friends and were acquaintances but weren’t really friends. I moved away to Leeds University and Chris to Brighton and although my best friend was his house mate for a while, we didn’t meet again for 20 years.

Then, 10 years ago Chris came to spend Christmas with his family in Hull. He spent 3 days playing Scrabble with his mum before phoning a friend and asking if she fancied going for a drink on Boxing Day. She already had a date with me but said that Chris could tag along. He picked me up in a taxi a few hours later and it’s fair to say that it was love at first sight.

Top tips for running a successful business with your partner?

Have desks at opposite ends of the office and don’t run out of milk! 

Seriously, the most important thing is to have clear roles. In the early days we both did everything, but it was relatively easy as we just had one boutique. However, as things became more complicated with an additional boutique, our own website and our partnership with Trouva we had to divide the tasks. Now we both do the things that we are best at.

You just celebrated your 6th anniversary, How did you and the team celebrate?

We are planning a post work evening on Beverley Westwood when we can get the whole crew together; some cool boxes full of beer and fizz, a feast of picnic food from our favourite local delis, early evening sunshine, music, food and laughter - is there anything better?

What are some highlights from the past 6 years?

Villanelle carrying one of our Sandqvist bags on Killing Eve for sure - we knew it had been bought by the production company but we didn’t think the coolest woman on TV would use it!

Being nominated for the Trouva Best Boutique award.

Lastly, it must be our wedding! After 2 failed attempts during COVID we danced outside with our friends and family until the early hours. I can remember watching Team Draper dressed in their best, laughing, dancing and having a great time.

"Customers used to come into The Modern Draper to see if we have what they want, now they come in to see what we have"

What makes The Modern Draper team so special?

We have been so lucky with our team. They are committed, loyal, funny, passionate but most importantly they are all genuine friends. They give each other lifts, give hugs when needed. Chris and I have allowed them to develop and take ownership of the things they love so they all have specific tasks that enhance the business. Every one of them is an ambassador for The Modern Draper and we are genuinely proud of all of them.

What do people come in store for, and what do they leave with?

One of our team recently said ‘Customers used to come into The Modern Draper to see if we have what they want, now they come in to see what we have’.

What’s up next for The Modern Draper: any exciting plans for 2023?

2023 is about looking closely at the first six years – what has worked well, where can we make changes, what is going to make our customers even happier and more engaged. The next 12 months aren't going to be easy for anyone, but we all need to look at what’s good in our lives, what is important and what makes us happy. For Team Draper it’s about working together, a happy, fun working environment and giving customers - both online and in-store - good, old fashioned customer service and knowing that we value them.

Every single purchase, whether in store, online or with Trouva is so important to us. We know that your time and money is precious so if you choose to spend it with us we will do everything we can to make you feel valued. We will continue to give you a world class edit of the best contemporary and heritage brands with old fashioned customer service.

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