Gabby Oldfield always knew her love for fashion and her desire to be a business owner would cross paths one day. As the founder of online fashion boutique Rein, she’s managed to combine the two, and turn a passion project into her full-time job.
Current Location: Auckland
Tell us a little bit about your career path so far – what lead you to where you are today and launching the online boutique?
I have worked in retail ever since I left school in 2012 and always loved fashion and design. I also always wanted to own my own business. Growing up with my mother, father and grandparents all owning their own business, I guess made me want to follow that path also. I went to study Fashion Business at Parsons in NYC in 2018. Doing the course helped me to find the path I wanted to take and then I launched my own e-commerce fashion boutique in November 2018.
When did you know you wanted to work in fashion?
I guess I always knew I loved fashion from a young age but I just needed to find what part of fashion I enjoyed the most. I always had an interest in being able to work for myself and when I worked in the retail environment I went through a variety of different roles from stock coordinator through to retail manager. When I started studying fashion business I loved that I got to study a whole range of different roles within fashion and I guess from that I was able to find my niche that I loved. Being exposed to the fashion industry in New York City was also a massive eye opener to me and I knew I was going down the right path.
Tell us a bit about Rein’s pop-up store which you’ve just opened.
Our Rein ‘Pop-Up’ is at 283 Parnell Road, Auckland and will be there until the December 15. I didn’t want to just create a pop-up store, I really wanted to create an experience for every customer that came through the door. I have kept the space simple yet elegant with a minimal feel so we can showcase the brands and let the pieces do the talking. I wanted to steer away from the cluttered and overcrowding experience you get in a lot of boutique fashion stores and create a cultivated atmosphere.
Having that brick and mortar experience gives us the opportunity to showcase our brand style and ethos in the form of an experience and environment. I have really focused on the meaning and ‘why’ behind Rein and I want it to inspire and be seen in every aspect of the business from buying through to design. Since we are all about empowering women and making them feel confident in what they wear, having that in-store experience is important to feel and experience the clothing and to bring the branding from our website to life.
You’re doing a summer series of guest speakers – can you tell us a bit about it and who we can expect to hear from?
The Rein Summer Style Series is a bunch of inspiring boss and style babes that come in each week to shop with our customers and give some of their style tips along the way. We have the biggest boss babes in business featuring in the series such as Donielle Brooke from Designer Wardrobe and Iyia Liu who has founded various businesses, plus style icons such as Ash Owens, Nikki Isemonger, Hannah Barrett and so many more that I can’t wait to share. As we have the pop-up for a few months I decided to do something that hasn’t been done before and to test the market with something exciting and a different way to shop. With the world being so dominated with digital marketing I wanted to combine that with a brick and mortar experience. Bringing together the two creates an interactive experience for our shoppers and I think the Style Series will take the retail shopping experience to a new level.
What has been your greatest accomplishment or milestone to date?
My greatest accomplishment was probably starting my own business and believing in myself to give it my all.
What are some challenges you’ve faced or had to overcome?
Everyday there is a new challenge in business. It isn’t easy but rewarding at the end. Especially when I am a bit of a perfectionist so it definitely tests me sometimes.
What do you love most about your job?
I love having the freedom of being able to express what I love and then putting it into my business for other people to experience.
What are your three favourite things on Rein.co.nz right now?
My number one would have to be the Zou Bisou sunglasses from Velvet Canyon. This is a new brand we have at Rein and I am in love with them. The Harlow pant from Bec & Bridge and the Guardian linen mini dress from MLM Label which looks awesome paired with an oversized blazer.
Which brands or designers would you love to stock in future?
There are a couple of brands such as Orseund Iris and Re/Done that I would love to stock at Rein, but really it is finding those new smaller like-minded brands that align with our vision that I want to continue to stock.
Who do you admire most in business and why?
It might sound generic but Anna Wintour. I have always looked up to her from a very young age. I love her attitude and how she presents herself in a poised and significant way.
Where are your favourite places to shop in NZ or beyond?
My favourite places to shop would be in New York City. I love walking through Soho and finding cute fashion boutique stores. I am also a big online shopper. I love scrolling through Farfetch and Shopbop.
What is the one item you are currently coveting?
Fendi Kan F Shoulder Bag in White PU.
Any life-changing books, podcasts, or websites you recommend?
The Choice by Edith Eger. I read this book about over a year ago and I would recommend to anyone. It is an amazing story and such an inspiring read. It encouraged me to take risks no matter the cost.
What’s the one beauty product you couldn’t live without?
I am not a huge makeup person and don’t really wear it too much. I try wear as little as possible and none if I get the chance. I think if I had to choose one product I couldn’t live without it would have to be Grown Alchemist gel cleanser. It’s the first step to a good skincare regime and clean skin is super important. I have used it for years and it is hands down the best cleanser.
When did you last act fearlessly?
Opening my second Pop-Up Store and combating the setbacks that came with it.
Do you have any advice for Miss FQ readers who want to get into a career like yours?
Trust and have confidence in yourself to take a chance. You only have one life so why not just give it a go. It can be daunting putting yourself out there but the risk and pursing something you love is so worth it. Better to try than regret never doing it in the first place.
What’s next for Rein? Anything exciting in the pipeline?
Next year we are expanding our brand portfolio plus we have some exciting things in store for our in-house Rein brand.