Shoe and bag retailer Russell & Bromley is opening its first shop in Ireland today, at No 76 Grafton Street in Dublin.
One of the UK’s longest independently owned and family run businesses, Russell & Bromley has a strong online following throughout the world – but the 1,300 square foot store is their first venture outside the UK, where it has 34 outlets.
Andrew Bromley, the company’s chief executive, said an Irish outlet has been on the cards for more than a decade.
“About 12 years ago my brother Stuart and I came over to look at a store in Grafton Street. It was an ambition even then. We always had it at the back of our minds.
“Dublin has an energy to it, it’s got sophistication and it’s got style – it’s got an eclectic mix of all sorts and it’s all very contained in the centre.”
He said the company had examined the prospect of opening outlets in Italy, Germany and Paris, and had even scouted the brand districts – but none were considered as seriously as was Dublin.
The new Russell & Bromley store is located in the former Fitzpatrick family shoe shop – another multi-generational family business. The outlet will employ 13 staff.
Andrew’s cousin, Sebastian Bromley, who is head of digital in the Russell & Bromley online store, confirmed that Irish people were their third biggest source of visiting customers.
The Dublin store opens with a limited-edition run of its popular ‘Park Limit’ sneaker styles – customised on the heel to mark the occasion.
While the windows of the new stores are filled with a mix of men’s and women’s footwear – with their heritage aesthetic and modern glam sequinned ankle boots from their new AW22 campaign – the first display inside the door is designed to meet tastes in a city still coming to terms with the Garth Brooks factor.
But despite the influx of 400,000 concert goers for his gigs at Croke Park, there are no men’s western styles.
However, for women, the stack-heeled ‘Saloon’ boot comes in fancy crocodile finishes, in green or burgundy (€795), while the luxury ‘Wild West’ boot in gold-embroidered brown suede – made famous when worn by Sienna Miller – costs €995.