AN ONLINE retailer has bucked the industry trend by setting up shop in Redditch town centre.
While many commentators are predicting the decline of the high street, Pritika Bhardwaj and her brother Bhavneel have defied the doom mongers and opened up Riley Boutique in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre as a way of raising the profile of their online business.
The company started trading online last year selling clothing and bags sourced, and predominantly manufactured, in Italy. The website has proved a big hit with customers looking for something different to the usual high street fashion but the pair quickly realised to build their brand further they would need a physical presence.
They chose Redditch due to its location and after speaking to shoppers who said they would love an independent boutique in the town and hearing positive comments from other retailers.
And the move is already paying off with increased activity on their social media sites, a host of new and existing customers coming into store and they also get instant feedback from shoppers on their products.
Pritika said they were inspired by their parents who had started out with car boots, market stalls and indoor markets before moving on to shops.
“The new era of consumer buying tells us that online shopping and trade is the fastest and quickest way of growing a business, however we know without people knowing you exist how can they buy online? Surely both go hand in hand, yes we need to be aware of the changing retail and buying habits, but we also want to connect with our customer and give them choice to come and see what we are all about.” she said.
“We decided to go back to basics and the best form of understanding our customer and building brand awareness would be to get back on the high street and let our customers be our best brand ambassadors, they will help us build our brand by spreading the word which is exactly what is happening.
“We now see our customers touch, and try on our clothing, they fall in love with the bags and when they gush over our stock, it fills us with so much joy and pride.”
An official VIP launch event is taking place on February 26 and anyone wanting to join the guest list should email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional discounts and special treats for new customers.