She’s in fashion

The TN card is the Tunbridge Wells loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers for supporting local. This month its founder Jess Gibson chats to Sophie Bland, owner of bod & ted, the award-winning independent womenswear boutique at 70 High Street, Tunbridge Wells which recently won a coveted Drapers award for Womenswear Independent of the Year…


Sophie, you opened bod & ted with your mother Yvonne in 2008. How did your retail venture come about?

I was working in a boutique in Salcombe, Devon during my university holidays. The owner was moving away and mentioned she was looking for someone to take over the lease of the building, so over a glass of wine with my mum, bod & ted was born. We named it after my sisters; bod & ted are their nicknames. We opened the first bod & ted in Salcombe in 2008 when I was in my last year at university and then we opened in Tunbridge wells in 2010.

Where does your love of fashion come from?

I have always loved fashion and was constantly trawling vintage shops in London and Brighton as a teenager whenever I got the chance. My mum grew up in London in the 60s and 70s and was a real bohemian. She had the coolest wardrobe filled with mini dresses, hot pants, platforms and Afghan coats – I wish she’d kept more of it!


Providing a personalised service is really important to you. How do you help women find the right clothes for them? 

We are constantly on the lookout for an exciting emerging designer and quite often are one of the first UK stockists of a brand. We attend shows in London, Paris and Copenhagen and visit all of our supplier showrooms up to four times a year. Designers will also contact us if they think their new collection would sit nicely alongside our current brand portfolio.



“By shopping independent you know that you are buying into slow fashion”


Providing a personalised service is really important to you. How do you help women find the right clothes for them? 

We work with our clients to find pieces that really flatter their shapes and colouring and fit their lifestyle. Every member of the team is a Store Stylist and is on hand to help find the perfect pair of jeans, do a seasonal update or find a statement dress for a special event. We get to know our customers so well we tend to know what will suit them before it even hits the shop floor, regularly texting or calling them when pieces we know they’ll love arrive!

We were so sorry to hear about the loss of your mum to Covid earlier this year. How have you kept the shop going through such difficult times?

Thank you, it was a massive shock and has been a very difficult time. I think first and foremost it is down to the amazing team at bod & ted, who really are more like family. Also, my children who are pure sunshine and my husband who is my biggest supporter. My lovely dad has become my new sounding board along with my sisters – the original bod & ted. It helps that the brand has gone from strength to strength this year – and that’s all down to our wonderful customers.


Congratulations on being named Drapers’ Womenswear Independent of the Year. What do you put your success down to?

There are so many different factors – obviously key is our wonderful team and our suppliers. I also think we offer something that cannot be found anywhere else in Tunbridge Wells – or indeed further afield – thanks to our edit of the very best brands which helps create a fresh and exclusive collection. The environment is laidback and approachable, meaning our regulars trust us implicitly to find them the perfect piece. Our online shopping experience is an extension of this and we place customer service at the forefront.

What do you love about trading in Tunbridge Wells?

You could not choose a more perfect location than the Tunbridge Wells High Street. The mix of independent restaurants, cafés and shops creates such a lovely community and we’re so happy to be a part of it.


Why should we support our independent boutiques?

Firstly supporting independent puts money back into your local economy. By shopping independent you know that you are buying into slow fashion and getting something unique and exclusive. By very carefully and thoughtfully curating our collections, we have done the hard work for you.


How do you reward TN card members for supporting local?

For purchases over £50, TN card members receive an artisan soap of their choice free of charge from British brands Arthouse Unlimited and Brick Sixty or from luxury Sicilian brand Ortigia.



Where: 70 High Street, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1YB

Visit for: An award-winning mix of exclusive designers and up-and-coming brands.

Member reward: A complimentary artisan soap



Last month Sophie and her team welcomed loyal clients and local influencers in order to officially launch the store’s new autumn/winter collection…

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