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Sub & Tarctic co-founder Kimberly Bray shows off some of the products available in their new Thames Street premises. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

As online shopping continues its rise, securing the future of traditional stores has emerged as one of the retail sector’s biggest challenges.

But two new Oamaru retail outlets are proving bricks-and-mortar shops still have an important place.

Rebellious Rose, a children’s clothing and accessories store, and Sub & Tarctic, a company specialising in natural skincare products, both recently opened premises in Thames St – and both have done so after selling exclusively online.

Sub & Tarctic co-founder Kimberly Bray said she had rented an office space in Christchurch for the past two years, but discovered she could rent an office as well as a shop front for less in Oamaru.

The business is a family affair – Ms Bray works in partnership with her husband Lyndon Armstrong and her parents.

The family had connections to Oamaru, and they loved the small-town lifestyle, Ms Bray said.

“I have a whole swimming lane to myself – and don’t have to fight for a park,” she said.

Originally, the family was looking to rent only an office space, but when they looked at properties, they thought it made more sense to have a retail outlet as well.

“The best spaces ended up having an area set aside for retail, so it made sense to add that to our business.”

“We can spend time with our customers and get their feedback, which would be more difficult if we were just online.”

Sub & Tarctic uses natural products for their skincare range, including wool sourced from North Otago from which it derives keratin, the key structural material in hair and skin.

Rebellious Rose owner Rachael Keen started her business selling children’s clothing and accessories via Facebook one year ago, operating from her lounge.

She progressed to her sleepout and in February opened a shop in Thames St.

Mrs Keen still has a strong online presence, through Facebook and a website.

“The online aspect keeps the income ticking in, but the shop is helping grow my clientele,” she said.

“Both aspects complement each other.”

She loved running her own business, she said.

“It’s the best move I have ever made. I enjoy people coming in to have a chat, and the freedom it gives me.”