“The proof is in the puddin”: local independent retailer The Pud Store is taking the high street by storm
First published April 2015
There’s a new kidswear retailer in town, and it’s expanding its high street stores at a fantastic rate in the East Midlands area. The Pud Store, set up by Frances Bishop, sells an exclusive range of designer brand and boutique childrenswear at fantastic outlet prices. Featured recently in Drapers, and with the Drapers Independent and Nottingham Post Business Awards firmly in their sights, they sure have successes to shout about. Given that Retail Assist began in 1999 working with high street childrenswear retailer, Adams, we wondered how much the business start-up experience has changed in this sector over the last 15 years, and the secret to Pud’s success.
Q: Latest high street reports unfortunately didn’t bear positive news, with store closures totalling 16 a day as consumers shopping online challenge the relevance of the physical store. But it couldn’t be more different for Pud! As you continue to expand your business, what is it that keeps the customers coming through Pud’s doors?
A: We opened in Nottingham as a pop-up on Bridlesmith Gate, which was a prime location to get us noticed and on the map as a new business. With a loyal customer base, now that we’ve moved to Flying Horse Walk, the boutique feel and more relaxing arcade location aligns really well with the brand.
We actually began the business online in January 2014, but felt that we needed a physical store in order to engage better with our customer. The brands we were buying in were relatively unknown at the time, so we wanted to put them in front of the customer in order for them to feel the quality.
The unique in-store experience we offer at Pud is what we attribute our high street success to, as well as stocking some amazing brands such as Lilly & Sid (that we won exclusivity to trade over TK Maxx!), Bea Cadillac, Ben Sherman, French Connection and Converse.
Q: What is it that’s setting you apart from other childrenswear retailers out there? What do your customers really value about Pud?
A: You’ve got to really know your customer to do well on the high street, and we are designed with mothers in mind!
Our feeding room has been praised as a bit of a haven, where mothers can relax and feed their little ones in a comfortable environment. The store is also designed clutter-free in order to allow pushchair room, and a relaxed space to browse. We’ve also had a lot of customers commenting on how practical the kids play area and child friendly décor is: there’s no worries if the kids get carried away colouring, they can even write on the chalk walls.
Shopping with children shouldn’t have to be stressful and rushed, and in our stores we try our very best to facilitate an easy and enjoyable experience, that is memorable and ‘stand-out’ enough to ensure repeat custom.
Q: So, a store in Doncaster, Nottingham and Radcliffe; are there any more exciting plans…