TIME Lifestyle Boutique celebrated its first year in business in August. Founder Nicola Donnelly reveals her plans for the future and the shop’s story so far
The sight of empty high street shops in towns and cities the length and breadth of Britain is an off-putting one for most entrepreneurs – but one Dundonian has built a business that continues to answer the city’s demands for luxurious yet affordable gifts.
As Time Lifestyle Boutique is Nicola’s first business venture, she’s had to draw on her knowledge and experience of retail practices to put her childhood dream into reality. With the growth of the business in the last year, Nicola has spoken of the shop’s new online offering.
“We will be launching our online store very shortly and I will be investing a lot of effort in ensuring that the online experience can emulate the experience shoppers get when they visit the store,” she said.
“We have also worked with local and UK designers on developed products just for the shop. I want to continue to appeal to the senses and make people feel welcome, giving that personal touch.”
Time uses a mix of well-known and blossoming designers to give customers what she calls “gifts to be proud of”. During the creation of her business plan, Nicola canvassed people to find out what they felt Dundee’s existing retail facilities lacked. “Customers want quality products made locally or in the UK,” she said, “They want original designs and what they want a quirky selection that the chain stores just cannot offer.”
Nestled underneath the ornate decorations of Reform Street, Nicola’s new venture comes at a time when Dundee is showing a renewed economic confidence, with extensive development on the city’s waterfront seeing other local businesses spring up in the area as the only V&A museum outside of London continues to develop despite delays.
Despite her success so far, Nicola feels that more could be done to help the case of independent retailers such as herself. “Rather than predominately focus on the waterfront developments,” she said, “it would be great to see more visibility of the great local businesses and cultural opportunities we already have in the city. We are what makes the city unique after all.
“I certainly think that other cities do more to promote their independent offering. A few of us indies have recently got together and are working on a Dundee Indie’s Guide but we are all running our businesses alongside trying to piece resources together to do this.
“I have had excellent support from the local Business Gateway office and Creative Dundee. Business Gateway were invaluable at the business planning stage and still keep in touch when they have information that is helpful for me. Creative Dundee do a great job of bringing the creative community together and are a great platform for showing off the city’s strengths.
Customers want quality products made locally or in the UK, they want original designs and what they want a quirky selection that the chain stores just cannot offer.Nicola Donnelly, Owner and Founder of Time Lifestyle Boutique Dundee
Being such a small business, Time Lifestyle Boutique enjoys a close relationship with customers and cultural organisations such as Humans of Dundee, Dundee’s International Women’s Centres and Capability Scotland. Handcrafted designs and artwork is showcased on a Saturday afternoon within the building, with a pop-up shop having previously appeared at the city’s WestFest and Flower & Food Festivals.