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Kate's shop is a jewel in the city's fashion crown; MY DREAM JOB Kate Derefaka, shop owner, Amethyst.

Byline: By MICHELLE RUSHTON

KATE Derefaka really has her finger on the pulse of fashion. As joint owner of new women's fashion boutique Amethyst, she gets to jet off to designer fashion shows all over the world and attends fashion weeks in London, Paris and Milan - all in the name of research!

Kate recently opened the designer store in trendy Cavern Walks, in the heart of Liverpool's fashion district, with her business partner Jodie Gasteretous.

With a combined age of just 40, the pair intend to make a huge impact on the designer fashion industry, having already secured exclusive retail rights from international designers.

Their main aim is to cater for Liverpool's renowned fashionistas, providing unique and edgy designs at affordable prices. And they pride themselves on stocking some exclusive designer labels, available nowhere else in Liverpool, such as Erdem, Camilla & Marc and 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent.

"We want to make people feel good about themselves in stylish clothes by incredible designers," explained Kate, who originally intended to become a nurse but became interested in fashion when she landed a sales job at Wade Smith.

This spurred her to go back to college to study retail and distributive services at Hugh Baird College in Bootle, followed by a degree in fashion buying for retail at Manchester Metropolitan University.

However, after graduating, Kate found it hard to find a job in fashion near to home. She revealed: "I was considering moving to the USA to either continue my studies or find a job in styling. Then Jodie suggested we open a boutique in Liverpool."

The girls secured funding from a business bank and attended training with Blue Orchid to learn the skills of book keeping, e-marketing and marketing, as well as developing their website.

After finding the perfect premises, they spent a lot of time creating the right interior.

"The Amethyst ethos of individuality and edgy style is a theme prominent throughout the store interior," explained Kate. "It has an indulgent blend of vintage style and bespoke plush fittings."

Having opened the store in April with a celebrity-filled launch night, Kate has been kept busy with the day to day running of Amethyst.

"Being a fashion buyer and shop owner is often a challenging and demanding role," Kate admitted. "Each morning I read my emails to check whether designers have been in touch regarding stock that needs to be delivered.

"Then once the stock arrives we have to check it against our order sheets, tag each item of clothing, write down price changes and note each item of clothing from each designer in our account books.

"And, of course, we have to be on the shop floor serving our customers."

But she also admits there are plenty of perks to the job!

She said: "This year, Jodie and I travelled to London to attend London Fashion Week, giving us the chance to see some of the trends that will be available this coming season.

"While in London we had the chance to mingle with some trend-setters such as Lily Allen, Peaches and Pixie Geldof and Sophie Ellis Bextor.

"But the best has to be going to Paris to Hotel Le Meurice to view some amazing collections and find some inspiration from the Parisian women. Fashion in Paris is of a different level than in the UK, and I wanted to bring some of the ideas home!"

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TREND-SETTER: Kate Derefare outside her store
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2008
Words:574
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