Having only opened in October 2015, Rachael Caughley is developing her namesake boutique into a force to be reckoned with in the Wellington retail scene. Bringing to the table a marketing degree and previous retail experience, Caughley returned home last year with the dream of opening a space where lovers of fashion would flock to.
“I love just helping people feel good about what they’re wearing. I get a real buzz out of that, just being on the shop floor.”
Before opening the store, Caughley spent time in Shanghai, interning for a company in an effort to learn the ropes and build her experiences, knowing one day she wanted to own a retail store but waiting for the right opportunity.
“I spent two years trying to figure out what I was doing. I started, being too scared to email my seniors, and by the time I left I had progressed to an account manager. I knew that if I wanted to open a store, I just needed to do it.”
Following an incredibly successful launch party, Caughley has shown continued growth and promise, already in talks about expanding into homewares, specifically candles.
“People want to buy into the Caughley brand, but can’t afford or don’t want to buy an $800 jacket. This way they can,” said Caughley.
The store stocks a variety of brands, from Auckland design duo Harman Grubisa through to German designer Merz B.Schwanen. Diversity is what Caughley said sets her apart in an already busy retail environment.
“We have lots of brands that aren’t extremely well known, or even stocked in Wellington. So it has made the response incredible.”
While setting up was easy, Caughley said her biggest learning curve has been figuring out the day to day operations of the store, and the development of the Caughley brand. But a prominent location on Ghuznee Street, just shy of the bustling Cuba Street, has ensured a steady flow of customers and a strong level of visibility.
“When you go to other stores you know what you’re going for, what I’m doing right now is developing Caughley into a destination just like other brands, I want people to know why they’re shopping with us.”
The next step for Caughley is to build a strong online presence, developing an online store that is set to launch in October 2016.
“There are lots of customers who don’t have access to the brands we stock, so the online store is designed to provide that.”