Blue Water Expansion In Sadler Gate
Independent fashion retailer Blue Water has marked the third anniversary of the opening of its Cathedral Quarter store with the introduction of premium brand casual menswear.
Blue Water, owned by Derby entrepreneur Steve Robinson, opened in Sadler Gate in September 2009 initially selling premium brand women’s clothing and accessories and the introduction of menswear marks a return to the company’s roots.
Steve (45) was previously a graphic designer and fashion illustrator working for agencies in Derby and London before realising his dream of going into fashion retail and opening his first store in Burton in 2003.
“I was keen to have something in the town which would cater for men like myself who wanted a choice of premium brand fashion so initially concentrated on this in the first store.
“I had originally planned to open an art gallery in the shop’s first floor which is my other passion but was persuaded by my partner to branch out into women’s wear and we havn’t looked back since.”
The first store was joined in 2008 by a Blue Water shop at Barton Marina and Steve then turned his attentions to his home city of Derby.
He continued: “I was very keen to be in the Cathedral Quarter and particularly Sadler Gate where I have shopped since my teens.
“I was reluctant at first as the area was suffering from the effects of Westfield opening but was encouraged to do so my other independent retailers in the Cathedral Quarter who were confident that Sadler Gate in particular was on the cusp of a revival thanks to the efforts of everyone under the Business Improvement District.
“They were right as Blue Water in Sadler Gate continues to be extremely popular largely thanks to the improved surroundings, the increasing footfall and to our very loyal customer base who are delighted that we have brought such brands as White Stuff, Masai and Lauren Vidal Paris to the city.
“We have introduced menswear to give male customers an alternative to the high end tailoring already offered by established businesses in this area and are concentrating on premium brand casual clothing and shoes including Steel and Jelly, Matinique, Joules and Paulo Vandini.
“The new ranges also work well alongside the women’s wear as 60% of mens clothing is bought for them by their partners who essentially want styles that are fashionable and comfortable.”
Steve, who is joined in the business by his wife, Rachel, son, Luke and daughter Sophia who manages the Sadler Gate store, further expanded two years ago with a Blue Water shop in Belper and last week opened George Fox in Ashby – a new brand specialising in tweed and country clothing with a contemporary twist.
He concluded: “We have come a long way in just under ten years and some people may say that we must be mad to invest so heavily in fashion retail at a time when the high street continues to suffer.
“There will always be a place however for independent retailers such as ourselves who offer high quality service – going the extra mile and knowing what our customers want.
“Merchandising is also vitally important and we work hard to refresh our stores and particularly the windows twice a week to keep customers interested and wanting to come back regularly.
“Fashion retailing is changing and the internet has had the biggest impact on businesses such as ourselves but we are confident that we have the brands, environment and service that customers want.
“We celebrate our tenth anniversary next year and are determined not to stand still with plans in the pipeline for more stores both in this area and further afield.”
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