Daughter of Sheffield department store founder steps into some very stylish shoes

After working for prestige and luxury fashion brands, Rebecca Dransfield joins the award-winning Sandersons team. Stephanie Smith reports.

Back in June 2020, Rebecca Dransfield began modelling in socially distanced fashion shoots at Sandersons, the department store at Fox Valley, north Sheffield, founded by her late mother Deborah. Here she wears Calvin Klein black lounge jumper and grey joggers.

Rebecca Dransfield, the 25-year-old daughter of the late Deborah Holmes, founder of boutique independent department store Sandersons, has joined the family business as a buyer.

Deborah opened Sandersons in September 2016 at Fox Valley shopping park in her home town of Stocksbridge, 10 miles north of Sheffield, fulfilling the fashion lover’s long-held dream of creating her own independent department store.

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Her husband, Mark Dransfield, father of Rebecca and their younger daughter, Lucy, is MD of Dransfield Properties, which developed the Fox Valley former steelworks site into an award-winning shopping and dining destination.

Founder Deborah Holmes pictured at the Sandersons opening in 2016. She sadly died in 2019.

Deborah sadly died of cancer in January 2019, and Mark took on the role of CEO as well as overseeing expansion plans that have seen online sales increase and two new Sandersons stores created.

A graduate of the Fashion Retail Academy, Rebecca has worked in both online and physical retail – most recently at Selfridges in London for luxury brand Gucci.

During last year’s lockdown, she created and modelled for a series of socially distanced photo shoots within the Fox Valley store, capturing the imagination of customers on social media and helping to drive online and home delivery sales. Some of her favourite looks featured on the pages of the Yorkshire Post Magazine.

Deborah’s passion for style and fashion saw her attract a range of brands new to the area and now Rebecca is looking forward to helping build on that legacy, saying: “I have always had a real interest in the store and how it is changing and developing but I wanted to gain experience in other retail environments before getting involved full time.”

Rebecca and her father, Mark Dransfield.

Rebecca joins the Sandersons team as it prepares to open its third store - when the restrictions on non-essential retail lift next month - at Five Valleys in Stroud. The company also has a store at Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth as well as its flagship and head office at Fox Valley.

Rebecca said: “It feels like the right time now to be here and to be playing my part in keeping Mum’s legacy and vision alive. It is a really exciting and positive time for the company.”

Father Mark added: “Sandersons is a family business, and I am delighted to have Rebecca as a part of the head office team. She has her Mum’s eye for style and will bring some fresh ideas and energy.

“I’m extremely proud of what the whole Sandersons team has achieved over what has been a difficult year for retail and we are all looking forward to re-opening the doors to our shoppers in April.”

In 2019 Hannah Cockroft MBE took part in a fashion shoot ar Sandersons for the Yorkshire Post as she chose her dress for that year's Great Yorkshire Show. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Sandersons was named Best New Retailer in the 2019 Drapers Independent Awards, praised for championing unusual brands and for its attractive layout and approach to customer service. The same year a boutique spa was launched at the Fox Valley store by Joanna Lumley OBE and Hannah Cockroft MBE modelled for the brand on the Great Yorkshire Show catwalk and for a feature in the Yorkshire Post, praising its wheelchair-friendly layout.

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Part of the Dransfield portfolio, Sandersons houses brands including Barbour, Holland Cooper, Max Mara, Tommy Hilfiger, Levis and Jacob Cohen Jeans. Luxury fragrance brands include Penhaligons, House and Oud, Atkinsons and Chanel.

See www.sandersonsdeptstore.co.uk