TOTEM entrepreneur and manager, Susan Proctor says she likes to think that the store name, TOTEM, aptly represents what the place is all about; a totem being a Native American wooden figurehead which was representative of a particular tribe or clan and consisted of different ornamental carvings, TOTEM provides a fun, invigorating and alternative retail experience with varied brands gathered under one roof and aimed towards a discerning customer who wishes to have an unique style presence.
Three-year old TOTEM caters to men, women, and children with a varied range of clothing, shoes, and accessories. Aware of Muscat’s close-knit social circles as well as the ubiquity of available high street wear, Susan also recognized that Muscat denizens were willing to experiment in what they wore and how they styled themselves. “I believe that there should be an alternative between high end fashion and high street wear and we try to cover that middle ground at TOTEM,” she says. She aims for a customer who doesn’t want to look like anyone else, shunning assembly-line high street creations and instead possessing a strongly individualistic style streak. “[My customers] look for something quirky; instead of buying just that one stunning dress, they want to buy a variety of versatile pieces,” says Susan.
TOTEM features a variety of labels with maximum of 6 pieces of each, guaranteeing the wearer an element of uniqueness; furthermore, Susan adds, 90% of the TOTEM brands are unique to the Middle East. There are shoes from Seychelles, evening dresses from Blacque, sunglasses by Jeepers-Creepers, and super-comfy cotton wraps by Alternative Apparel, to name a few. Susan is also particular about stocking products of fantastic quality, citing Alternative Apparel as an example and adding that it also stands out for being socially and environmentally conscious.
Susan says that while she does have 20-30 customers in mind, which represent a certain section of her market, when scouting out labels to bring to TOTEM, she also greatly welcomes customer suggestions as well, turning it into a great fashion dialogue and exchange.
Susan is as meticulous about which brands to bring in to TOTEM as she is about ensuring that TOTEM is a comfortable place for her customers to be at, whether to simply browse or enjoy the shopping experience. “I am perfectly happy to help out a client while she chooses or tries out clothing or alternatively, let someone be,” she says, opining that if one makes the atmosphere of a store friendly and non-judgmental, people will positively respond to it and thus further contributing to enriching the atmosphere. “We often see men patiently waiting while their partners endlessly try out one garment after another,” she smiles. “We reward them with a chocolate biscuit!”
What with original and stylish labels, and a cheerful shopping ambience, TOTEM has become an integral part of the Muscat shopping experience.
Find TOTEM at Shops 21 and 22 Jawaharat al Shati, Shati al Qurum, Muscat. Tel: (+968) 9410 1901. For more information visit www.come-to-totem.com
Images: Alternative Apparel
– Priyanka Sacheti