Gabrielle Oldfield, founder of Rein. Image supplied.
Gabrielle Oldfield is the founder of online fashion boutique Rein that recently opened a pop-up store in Parnell. It’s the perfect chance to showcase Rein’s latest ranges for the summer season with lots of new pieces to update your wardrobe or to gift for Christmas. Rein stocks a beautiful curation of international labels that are otherwise unavailable in New Zealand and Gabrielle is excited to share the new collections with her customers. Rein’s pop up is open now until the 15th of December at 283 Parnell Road, Parnell, with Gabrielle also hosting a Summer Style Series in store with some of her favourite businesswomen and influencers. You can find all the details and book your spot on Rein’s website.
We caught up with Gabrielle to find out more about Rein, what her favourite pieces are for summer and what her advice is for anyone who wants a business of their own?
Where did the idea for Rein come from and how did you go about creating it?
I have always loved fashion and design and having been brought up in a very entrepreneurial background with both my mother, father and grandparents starting and owning their own business, I guess you can say owning my own business was definitely in the family.
After working in Fashion retail for a number of years I decided to head to NYC and study Fashion Business at Parsons. Studying Fashion Business helped me to find the niche I wanted to hit and I ended up going down the path of starting my own ecommerce fashion boutique. I felt like there was a gap in the retail market with some amazing brands not being accessible here in NZ plus I wanted to uplift and inspire women through the brands Rein stocks. After I came back from New York in June 2018 I launched Rein in November 2018. Months of planning, creating and sourcing brands that I wanted to align together.
My idea behind REIN came from wanting women to feel the freedom and confidence that comes with making your own decisions, deciding your own fate, and steering your own future. I want to empower women through fashion while still showcasing style, quality and fit to make women feel powerful and confident in what they wear.
Congratulations on your first year in business, what has the response been like to Rein so far?
Thank you. The response has been amazing. It has been so nice to bring together a new bunch of brands to New Zealand that all focus on inspiring women and to get such positive feedback from customers loving the different brands is amazing. New Zealand is a small country and being able to bring some brands here that are not that accessible has been rewarding especially to see that the market here definitely wants to see more of it.
What are your favourite trends and key pieces for the current spring/summer season?
I have two key trends that I am loving this season! Biker denim shorts are a definite. They are so easy to pair with oversized blazers for that casual dressed up look. Another is animal instincts. Animal prints are a trend that keeps on giving and always manages to make a comeback but I am loving the snake tones this season especially from The East Order new collection at Rein which I am loving.
Rein’s new pop-up store in Parnell.
Tell us about the pop-up you’re holding and what we can expect from it?
This will be our second pop-up store which is open now until the 15th of December at 283 Parnell Road in Parnell. We have kept the space simple yet elegant with a minimal feel so we can showcase the brands and let the pieces do the talking.
As we are here for a few months we decided to do something that hasn’t been done before and to test the market with something exciting and a different way to shop. Our focus has been on the online market which is has worked really well, and with the world being so dominated with digital marketing we wanted to combine that with the brick and mortar experience and create a more interactive way for our shoppers to experience joining those two worlds together. We have decided to run what we are calling ‘Summer Style Series’ with some inspiring boss and style babes coming in each week to shop with our customers and give some of their style tips along the way. It will be a fun interactive way to shop and something I think can take the retail shopping experience to a new level.
How would you describe the Rein customer and what is she looking for from your brand?
The Rein customer is women aged between 18-35 who are aware of brands and follow fashion. They like quality and fit in their garments and follow fashion trends but they don’t hit them hard . They take pride in what they wear and how they present themselves and like to feel poised and significant.
How would you describe your personal style and how does it influence Rein and your in-house fashion label?
A lot of what you see at Rein is what I love and has hits of my personal style throughout. My style is effortless yet has a bit of edge. I love to layer with basics which is what I’ve brought in with the Rein in-house line. I have always found it hard to find good quality basics at reasonable prices that you can mix and match with any outfit. I love to create pieces that are effortless and easy to wear but can also seamlessly fit into your wardrobe and mix and match with any outfit. We are slowly building our Rein brand each season.
Gabby at Rein’s new pop-up store in Parnell.
How do you balance the creative and business demands of your role in your brand?
Our aim is to inspire our customers and make them feel confident in what they wear so creativity plays a huge role at Rein. Being ahead of the game and sourcing brands that align our vision that also aren’t yet in the New Zealand market is also very important. I really enjoy creating that for our customers and think about that every time I look at new brands or what to choose for the season ahead.
The business side is something I am getting used to. Like I said previously I have been exposed to business ownership my entire life but to take this risk yourself and to wake up everyday with the pressure is definitely something to get used to and I don’t know if you ever do. But it has given me great freedom to make choices and be in control of every decision which I really enjoy.
With my role being extremely varied I find planing out my time is key! Every Sunday I go over the week ahead and the first Monday of every month I sit down and go over everything from accounts through to marketing and website design. Having a clear vision and goal in mind also plays an important part to business so I make sure that is always there to remind me of where I am going.
What’s been the most valuable lesson you have learned from starting up your own business?
I feel like everyday I learn something new. As this is a start up business I am taking on all parts even if it isn’t necessarily where my talent lies! With that said I think my number one lesson would be to be flexible.
How do you maintain a personal connection with your customers and how does social media help you to connect with them?
Our customer is always in mind with everything we do from sourcing new brands that align with our vision through to selling the collections online so creating that personal connection is super important to us especially being an online based store as we don’t have that one on one aspect to brick and mortar stores. With being an online based store the growth in technology has helped us to gain insight into customers behaviours, therefore helping us to enhance our customers experience without feeling automated. The use of messenger and chat that is available on our website and social media platforms 24/7 helps us connect with them anywhere and any time. Our social media channels also help us share new arrivals, news and events with our customers.
As mentioned above a new exciting aspect which we are bringing to our pop up store is our ‘Summer Style Series’ which is style session with inspiring boss and style babes. Collaborating with like minded influencers on social media also helps us to connect with our customers.
Looking to the future, how far ahead do you plan and what makes you excited about the future?
I like to have a 5 year plan so I work away at that as best I can. I love watching the brand evolve and am exciting to add new brands to the NZ market as the years progress. I am already starting to line up some exciting plans for 2020 which I can’t wait to share.
Looks by Bec + Bridge available at Rein.