Tuesday 20 March 2018

A real mover and shaker in fashion

Alison O'Riordan talks to Rachel Treacy of Ruby Couture on her plans for a stylish future in Dubai

Twenty-nine-year-old Rachel Treacy has her finger on the pulse of savvy shoppers; she put 'Ruby Couture' on the map in Ireland and turned a six-week pop-up shop into a full-time job.

Rachel runs an outlet shop in Blackrock, Co Dublin, that offers 80 per cent off women's designer fashion, with big names such as Prada, Maxmara, Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga, Chloe and Stella McCartney -- and nothing is holding her back.

"Last December I helped out in the warehouse of Ruby Couture for a three-day event in the Mansion House, which then turned into opening a pop-up shop in Blackrock for six weeks.

"The shop has been doing so well we have kept it open. Three businessmen are behind the project but they needed the female touch," laughs the manageress of Ruby Couture.

The hidden gem of a shop is inundated with customers looking for good quality without paying the big bucks.

"I think it is a sign of the times as everyone still wants the quality but no one is going to pay €1,000 for a Maxmara coat, but maybe they will consider it if it's reduced to €200. We offer 80 per cent off everything in the shop, which we buy off wholesalers in Italy and France," said the Killiney woman.

Facing challenges from day one, Rachel describes her early days in sales as a "case of fake it until you make it".

"I never had any professional experience of running or setting up a shop so that was quite challenging.

"Dealing with obstacles in business is difficult at the minute, there is always going to be someone not happy and it's hard to keep your spirit levels up.

"Overall our customers are very content as we are offering runway names at a price that is affordable," she said.

With a lack of outlet shopping in Ireland, Rachel feels her shop is one of the few, along with TK Maxx, that is stacked to the brim with cut-price fashion, a necessity for the shopper who is looking for radical changes in the way they spend their money.

"No other shop has set up an outlet like this. Yes, we see discount designer sales and sample sales but nothing like this and there is no sign of it stopping," said Rachel.

Unfortunately we are losing this inspiring young woman to Dubai this month as she jets off to pursue bigger and better things.

She is leaving not for the usual reasons of doom and gloom but because she has an appetite to pursue fashion from afar.

"There is an opportunity for working in fashion in Dubai and I have learnt all I can here in Blackrock. A lot of people are emigrating because they feel they have to but I want to go away. I have never been hit by the recession; I have always had work and a great lifestyle so it's my choice to go for a year.

"If it doesn't work I'll try somewhere like Canada. I think at this time I need some life experience and I can always come back, it will be more of an escapism," she laughs.

Sunday Independent

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