Mission to bring life back to the high street

Rebecca Twynham of RebLe Montgomery Road, Wath-upon-Dearne pictured with Allan Wood of UKSE. Pic: Shaun Flannery
Rebecca Twynham of RebLe Montgomery Road, Wath-upon-Dearne pictured with Allan Wood of UKSE. Pic: Shaun Flannery
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A young entrepreneur who has opened up a new clothes shop in Rotherham is hoping to bring life back to the high street.

RebLe, which has been opened by Rebecca Twynham, is a boutique ladies clothing store. Ms Twynham opened the doors to the shop in September and is hoping to get the word out about her venture.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, she said: “The main thing for me is marketing and footfall because the town I’m in, Wath, is a very quiet high street.

“The biggest thing for me will be getting people to know that I am here and getting people to actually visit the shop and see me.”

Despite this the young entrepreneur believes there is still a place for high streets. Her store sells boutique clothing therefore sizes can vary.

A physical shop also allows customers to touch and feel the product that they are buying and obviously there is also the personal interaction.

Ms Twynham said: “I like to think that there would be a demand for the high street. I’m not the only person that doesn’t shop online.

“I do like to have a wander around, talk, try stuff on, actually look at the material and see what you’re getting.

“We’ve all ordered something online at some point and not got what we wanted. There’s issues of deliveries, returns are difficult. I do think there is still a market there for clothing shops and retail shops.”

The 27-year-old says that young entrepreneurs such as herself could help high streets regain some of their lustre.

She said: “There’s certain little local high streets like Wath that have got so much potential. If a few young entrepreneurs just opened up a few extra bits around here they could really bring it back to life and give people a reason to come back down again.”

Ms Twynham will be launching a website in January but won’t be retailing online yet as she wants to focus on serving local customers.

Her buying trends are driven by local demand, which she says is varied.

“They tell me the kind of styles that they’d normally look for, what they feel comfortable in and then that’s what I aim to purchase while I’m at the wholesalers,” Ms Twynham said.

The 27-year-old’s ultimate ambition is to have a succession of stores and to employ people. She already harbours hopes of launching a plus size store and a childrenswear boutique.

“The long-term goal would be to have a few shops,” Ms Twynham said. “I’d love to be able to employ staff to run them and give out some job opportunities.”

Ms Twynham added: “That’s what people are asking for in the area. They’re saying that there’s no real boutique childrenswear clothing shop around here also there’s a real high demand for plus size as well.”

To help her get the business off the ground, the 27-year-old received a £500 grant from the UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) Kickstart Fund. She used the money on signage and extra fittings in the shop to help her get more displays in.

The entrepreneur took the plunge after seeing a retail unit become available. She added: “It’s always a massive risk setting up your own business. It does take a lot of guts. There’s always going to be doubt because nothing is certain.

“All you can do is stay positive and confident and just go for it and put your best efforts into it.

“It’s one of those that no matter what happens with it, I would have always regretted it if I hadn’t at least tried it.”

‘I just love talking to people’

Rebecca Twynham has always worked in retail since leaving school.

She said: “I love retail because I just like talking to people. I’m a really chatty person. I like communicating with different people and seeing new faces.”

Ms Twynham has also always loved fashion and really enjoyed working in her first job in a shoe shop.

The most challenging part of running her own retail business has been the “spells of quietness”.

But since opening up in September, Ms Twynham says the feedback to RebLe has been positive.