Cardiff Character: Stephanie Roderick

With a plethora of quirky cafes and stylish outlets, Cardiff’s independent sector provides stores that are a little different from the usual high street chains. Fashion boutique Renate is one of them. Filled with luxury garments sourced from across the world Renate offers a unique shopping experience, and young entrepreneur, Stephanie Roderick, is the woman behind it all.

Aged 25 and having just graduated from London Metropolitan University, Stephanie Roderick saw a gap in the market for a women’s fashion boutique in Cardiff. From here Renate was born, and as the store approaches its first birthday, she reflects on the challenges and triumphs of being a young entrepreneur.

Stephanie sources her stock from countries as far as Australia and Denmark

Stephanie sources her stock from countries as far as Australia and Denmark

“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions,” says Stephanie. “As you can imagine Renate is like my baby. I jumped in at the deep end but it’s been great!”

Fresh from a personal training session, Stephanie preps the store for the day ahead. A large white space filled with detailed jewels and luxury clothing it embodies urban-chic and is inspired by her time studying in London.

“My degree really inspired me to open the store,” she says. “There’s very little like this in Cardiff. I wanted a big challenge for my first year out of university, so I thought ‘I’m only 25, I’ve got nothing to lose, let’s go for it’!”

Renate features contemporary clothing brands that are unique to Cardiff

Renate features contemporary clothing brands – Minimum, Just Female and Samsoe & Samsoe –  that are unique to Cardiff

Passion for fashion

Despite having a huge passion for fashion – with Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney being her personal icons – Stephanie’s career path was not always clear. It wasn’t until she studied a Business Diploma at Gower College that she found her “creative flair”. 

In 2011 she moved to London to study fashion marketing and management. Her joint-honours degree and an internship at NOAH Advertising allowed her to develop the “fundamental skills” to open her own business.

Stephanie explains: “Interning really helped me gain a good understanding of advertising and events, which I think is my strong point. We have in-store events and I really enjoy them. There’s [one] coming up to celebrate our first birthday. We’ll have cocktails, music and, most importantly, a good conversation!”

Fashion boutique Renate is situated in the Morgan Arcade

Fashion boutique Renate is situated in the Morgan Arcade

Home is where the heart is

However, while she loved the hustle and bustle of London, Stephanie missed her tight-knit family and friends back home in Swansea. Living away made her thankful for the little things in life, such as being able to pop to the supermarket or visit her grandfather for tea.

“London is very vibrant, but it’s lonely,” Stephanie says. “It made me realise how lucky I am to have such amazing friends and family. I loved living there, but I don’t think I could leave home again.”

After graduating in July 2014, Stephanie returned to Wales and, after a whirlwind few months, Renate opened in November. The store provides Cardiff shoppers with personal shopping experiences, unique brands and, of course, events.

“Renate has shaped who I am today. I’ve grown as a person.”

As Renate approaches its first birthday, Stephanie is excited to see what the next year will bring. Having watched the business grow, she is now ready to turn her attention to Renate’s online market.

And business aside – she’s getting married. “I’m getting married in Rome next year,” she says with a smile. “And I’m really excited!”

Check out Renate online or in store at the Morgan Arcade.