Best Boutique, Vintage: Red Ruby Rouge


In the small town of Holywood, Co Down, population 1,200, is one of Ireland’s best-loved fashion boutiques and a destination in its own right thanks to its mix of select labels and its celebrity fans. Red Ruby Rouge owner Fiona Kennedy has dressed Gillian Anderson’s character in The Fall, this year’s Big Brother contestant Sophie Anderton and Christine Bleakley for The One Show.

Don’t let the boutique’s small shop window put you off. Inside, the blonde-floored space is home to hand-picked fashion labels that you won’t find anywhere else in Ireland or the UK. Reader Kathryn Walmsley describes the place as: “Stylish, fashionable and unique.”

After five years in business, her stable of labels has garnered her significant editorial coverage in fashion glossies. Loup, a sportswear label is one of her most successful sellers, “because of its good price points and realistic fits,” Kennedy explains. Sabrina Tach, from Uruguay, is a hand bag designer that makes affordable arm candy.

Kennedy employs one full-time staff member, three part-timers and contractors such as graphic designers and photographers who work on her website, which now accounts for 40 per cent of her overall business.

“I also do a lot of visits to customers’ homes and will keep an eye out for anything special they might be looking for; an outfit for a wedding, for example,” she explains.

In these challenging times how does she get people into the shop? “Events help get customers to cross the threshold.” She holds reward evenings, sale previews and once a year does a warehouse clearout. “People camp out. It’s good fun and girls get to bring friends along if they RSVP.”As well as shedding old stock, events such as these also help increase her mailing list.

Red Ruby Rouge, 120 High Street, Holywood, Co Down, tel: 048-90427818.

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