Business: REB Footwear
Open since: August 2017
Reb Footwear is an Auckland based high street store owned and run by 26-year-old Nicole Schoefisch-Rebstock, who was inspired to design and create her own shoe line after completing her law degree.
Schoefisch-Rebstock’s store specialises in European designs that are targeted at the high-street market.
“High street for me is definitely the right place to be, just because it is the corporate market around here and what I sell is very classic and refined. And that is what this market is after.”
Schoefisch-Rebstock took a leap of faith after concluding that her law degree was not the path she envisioned for herself.
“A couple of years into the degree I knew it wasn’t for me, but nonetheless I’d never take the degree back. If I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to have done this. It’s funny cause I never thought I wanted to be a designer, I just knew I loved business and fashion and thought, everyone has to start somewhere!”
Schoefisch-Rebstock took a fashion course where she learned to design and construct her own shoes. Shortly afterwards, she was able to sell her designs online. Reb sold through stockists and online until the end of 2016 when Schoefisch-Rebstock knew opening a store would be the right decision for her business – which was proved correct by store sales quickly surpassing that of online.
“Getting a store is very challenging for someone who doesn’t already have one. Especially on High St where space is highly sought after,” she says. “I got very lucky with this space. But now in store at the moment is much strong than the ecommerce side, I think it’s always been a lot easier to sell in person… I think ecommerce will grow naturally as I start to build up a reputation. You need that reputation for people to trust you and then actually buy online.”
Schoefisch-Rebstock credits her ability to open the store to the support of her friends and family. She acknowledges that her mother’s way with businesses was an inspiration to getting started.
“Family and particularly friends were a big help to what got to where I am now. My best friend from high school started her own sleepwear label so she was a great mentor to have. She was very helpful with guidance; I think without that I wouldn’t have been able to do it. But I had friends who did the modeling and the photography just to help me out, so I was very lucky in those initial stages.”
Schoefisch-Rebstock has high hopes for her new store, focusing on more designs and targeting her high-street market.
“My biggest desire would be to have more than one store. Hopefully the brand will expand here and internationally, but for now, this is a great start.”
This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 754 February/March 2018