Mum’s the word for entrepreneur Frances Bishop as she brings her revolutionary approach to children’s fashion retail to Crystal Peaks.
The 28-year-old businesswomen – best known for her appearance in the twelfth season of BBC hit The Apprentice – is the founder of discount children’s fashion outlet The Pud Store.
The business was launched in 2015 and the company’s arrival at award winning Sheffield shopping centre Crystal Peaks follows successful openings in Doncaster, Newark and Mansfield.
And she says that Pud’s insistence on a traditional approach to shopping – the company has no website but spreads the word through a hugely popular Facebook page – proves there is a real future for retail.
“We’re not flouncy, we’re not snooty, we’re an up front business selling a fantastic range of end of season, last season and bankrupt stock at prices every family can afford,” Frances explains.
“No matter what your bank balance, people want their children to look nice and that’s what the Pud approach is all about.
“I remember retail back in the day when it was still a very personal experience, where you would go into a local shop and everybody would know your name.
“Somewhere along the way that seems to have gone but that’s what I want to bring back.
“They say the high street is in decline but it isn’t – it’s just moving into a new era of independents and specialists, which is exactly how Pud works.”
As well as selling good quality clothing at heavily discounted rates – you can pick up a pair of shoes for as little as £5 – Pud also prides itself on its level of personal attention to every visitor.
“Humans are born with the need to interact – and not just to interact behind a screen,” Frances insists
“Our shops are proving so popular not just because of the fantastic bargains but because we have a team who want to talk to you.”
Because of the nature of the business – stock comes in and goes out very quickly – a Facebook page followed by 20,000 enthusiastic shoppers keeps fans permanently up to date with what’s available in store.
And with families the most important element of the Pud story, the company also has a payment plan option to spread the cost to pay day if items need to be put aside.
“I’m a mother myself so I do know what mums want when they’re shopping,” Frances says.
“I believe I am putting that experience to the best use and it feels like the success of Pud is very much part of a retail revolution.
“The Amazons will come and go but people will always need to shop and everything comes full circle.
“I say its time to welcome people back into your shops and give them the retail experience they’ll enjoy.”