Is Surbiton good place for fashion footwear boutique ?

10 years ago...

My name is Rafal and I am planning to open fashion footwear boutique in Surbiton. I am looking for feedback - is Surbiton good for this kind of business? I have seen a lot of cafe shops, nice restaurants but not many fashion retailers sadly.
Please advice !
Kind Regards,


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Whilst I am sure many people would love to see such a shop I do not think you would get the football required. You would be better off in Kingston.

Or cricket.
Also, there's a very nice and long established independent shoe and clothes shop on Maple Road to give you a run for your money.

I know that one but it is not much just one shop for 39k population in Surbiton area (even Esher has more shops...) Also it is a bit different target group as Maple Rd boutique is a bit conservative and I think it's target group is a bit older than mine. I am representing factory which is making trendy shoes not much of classic or old fashion styles. I am asking here as Surbiton looks really quiet to me almost no people on the streets and that's really weird for such a nice area....

Kingston is one of the largest shopping centres in Greater London - that's where Surbitonites go to do non-food shopping.
It's only 20 minutes walk or 10 minutes by bus away from Surbiton.

Surbiton is strictly for food shopping, and convenience items.
And restaurants (oddly, there aren't that many in Kingston itself).
Oh, and estate agents and charity shops.

A trendy shoe shop in Surbiton would only work if there was a hub of other like stores there as well.

Maybe you could be the first of the hub? Someone has to start the reversal of the high street rot.

Well this is what I though I mean that such a nice place as Surbiton deserves something more than being "close to Kingston" and more than charity shops on main shopping parade but after all those comments I am confused even more

Surbiton is a nice place, but not one where a lot of people would go to buy clothes and shoes. As others have said, Kingston is far too close with it's excellent choice.

The type of shops that work well in Surbiton are supermarkets and estate agents because these are the ones that local people use on their way to and from the station. Very few people will actually make a special journey into Surbiton to do other types of shopping and I doubt the existing footfall would support a shop as it is.

I love the idea of 'stopping the rot' and turning Surbiton into a bit of an independent shopping location, but you need to make sure that the numbers add up before attempting it.

Hmm very interesting opinion about locals using estate agents on the way to and from work....

Well not 'use' as much as browse in the window on their way to and from work and call in later. I don't personally know why estate agents need a high street presence any more anyway, but they all seem to think it works given how many there still are.

The range of shoes that you have seems great, but I'd think it far too niche for Surbiton. Surely you'd be better to start off somewhere more central where people can come from and wide to see the products?

Dear "Anonymous", this is very weird what you are saying about Surbiton and Surbitonites. Do you want to tell me that people are buying new flat/house every week/month/year? And are tempted to call local estate agents? Also about range we offer - there is nothing niche about those shoes, they are up to fashion trends and from newest collection for 2013 but not "niche". Those shoes are sold not only in big cities Berlin, Moscow etc but also in little towns. Niche are some of creations by Manolo Blahnik, Czech designer/shoe maker loved by Sarah Jessica Parker (shame his shoes are far to expensive for any local shop). Personally this Saturday I had lovely chat with 4 ladies from Clapham, they tried samples and said they would not mind to travel 10 minutes on the train to get them in local store.
Wish you and everyone to have lovely Bank Holiday Monday.
Kindest Regards,

In terms of estate agents, I really do not understand why so many of them still have a high street shop when most of their business must be done online or on the phone these days.

The thing is, it must work for them or at least some would have experimented with renting a smaller, cheaper first floor office rather than retain a shopfront to advertise their houses for sale/rent.

Certainly when this change does start happening it will have a massive effect on Surbiton town centre. We have the traditional 'cluster' of them around the station, but a second set has built up around the 'KFC' part of Brighton Road and there are quite a few along Victoria Road as well.

I don't think the shoes themselves are niche, more that the Surbiton market would probably only be able to support a shop that had a very broad appeal because of the relative lack of footfall. There has been a 'Clarks' shop on Victoria Road for years and this probably survives because it has something for a lot of different people even if it does not offer very fashionable products.

Have you seen the shop 'Shoes At Last' on Maple Road? This is quite a fashionable store and has lasted for many years. I walk past it at least 10 times a week and have never seen anyone in there apart from the owner, but it obviously makes enough money to stay open.

The only time I see anyone browsing in Shoes at Last is when the Farmers Market is on. It's a very expensive shop, not for your average shopper on a budget, but there isn't really any competition in the area apart from boring Clarks.

Hi there :) with Clarks it is a bit different story as it is a big chain which can afford to generate looses on few shops and be in the area just to promote brand. Also I have lost all my respect to Clarks since they moved theirs factories from UK to .... China and now they offer really bad quality not worth the price they are selling it for. Maple Road boutique, yes I have seen that one :) it is little charming store I think the owner loves what she does but I think it has a bit different target group. Shops in Surbiton have competition from Kingston not between each other. Funny thing is that more shops there would be in Surbiton, more art and fashion etc bigger footfall it would generate and bigger turnover for each of shops. I love what I do I love fashion and footwear but all after all everyone has to earn for bills :) . Surbiton itself is lovely area so different compare to other parts of London, with it's Art Deco architecture etc there is just not enough promotion of area. I think Surbiton is nicer than Kingston, it has sort of artistic town feel, Surbiton should have art market like let's say Greenwich. BTW I have never seen such a good customer service in any of cafe nero I've been to in London, Surbiton staff needs a medal for it!!. Same apply to one of local pubs (don't remember name)

It is nice to hear that you have enjoyed Surbiton and consider it a good area for a nice shop like this.

I agree that it is better than Kingston as an area to live, although I do love having Kingston on the doorstep. It is nice to be able to walk there, experience the hustle and bustle of all the events that they put on, but then come back to Surbiton to avoid the noise and traffic.

Surbiton still appears to be a bit of an undiscovered gem. I have lived here for 20 years and a lot of my friends from other areas have scorned it for it's association with the Good Life show and it's perceived boring suburbia reputation. They are all surprised and impressed when they actually visit.

I would like to see some development of the town centre, but not too much promotion as such - despite it's relatively unfashionable image, house prices have rocketed to in excess of quite a few areas closer to London. If the image improves as well, I wouldn't be able to afford to live here.

Best to get a "pop up" shop to start and test the market,I have no idea what sort of footwear you are promoting,but with a huge student population and great demand for "street cred" clothes and non conventional dressing it may work for you.

Hi Poppy Thank you for your comment ! I think range I am offering is a bit to expensive for pop up shop :) I will also have online shop just working on it, and also show room for wholesale. You can see range of shoes on my website (in gallery there is over 700 pictures in 8 categories). Also each of styles can be customized (kind of leather/colours changed Swarovski crystals added so for additional payment you can design you own unique pair/match it to dress etc) And trendy doesnt mean unconventional we are putting biggest preasure on comfort and maker is known from very stable well made heels.
Thank you a lot for comment.
Kindest Regards,

Hi Rafal
Your shoes look wonderful!
It would be great if you came to Surbiton.
I personally shop at Russell and Bromley in Kingston,because there is nothing locally to match them.
We have a Clarks shoe shop and of course the bespoke shop in Maple Road,neither of which meet my requirements,so
an upmarket alternative would be most welcome.
I wish you well in your business venture.

Thank you for lovely comment. I love footwear and it is always nice to hear complement. Personally I have been working 4 years in one of shoe shops on London's fashion hot spot - Bond Street and I know Russell and Bromley very well. They always have lovely selection and good quality I will try to do my best to offer same quality 30-40% under theirs prices. Also you can customize each of our styles choose leathers and colours for each of elements and have your own design/unique pair. We are still talking with landlords about lease so Surbiton location have not been confirmed yet :( but we will also sell our shoes online. I am thinking about some really fresh colours like lime or ocean blue :).
Please do not hesitate to email me for voucher or discount code, I am always happy for customers with passion for footwear.
Kindest Regards,

This is interesting. I'd very much like to see more retail shops in Surbiton and this looks attractive. Someone else pointed out that if you get a hub of specialist shops, more follow. I would add that we have much better restaurants than Kingston, so perhaps this could work for shoe-shops!
You may want to do some more market research on the area and perhaps visit on different days of the week and walk around the area, if you haven't already. Have you chatted to any shopkeepers? I've lived here some years and have seen shops come and go and it seemed to me that the exact location in Surbiton is important - eg Brighton Road appears to get less Saturday footfall than Victoria Road. You've got the supermarkets Waitrose & Sainsbury's pulling in shoppers, although I suppose that many drive to the carpark and straight out again. Footfall - people walking to the station during the week who will pass by and note shops to return to on a Saturday.
I'd suggest that you research carefully as I've seen many shops come and go and I suspect that the rent is also key to success. Good luck!

Hi, Thank you for your post. I made a little bit research in Surbiton indeed! And this is even more confusing while in any of coffee shops it is hard to get sit streets are empty :) I even asked myself how people are getting to coffee shops while there is more people inside than on the street. This is very interesting at some points :) . Think that's a charm of area :)

It is strange how that happens. Sometimes I have to get a 6.30am train from Surbiton. During the 10 minute walk from my house to the station it is not unusual for me to see no other people whatsoever and just one or two cars.

When I get to the station, it is almost impossible to get on the platform because it is so busy with people!

Thank you for interesting post - indeed it is really incerdible how coffe shops are full while streets are empty :) I am glad people enjoy coffe but would like to understand one day how they are getting there if not walking (even for little bit just to get to enterance :D :) ) Magic!!
Anyway as we were really worrying that Surbiton might be to quiet we will be opening in different part of London. Last few weeks were really busy and full of new experiences and hard work. All late nights with little sleep and hard work finally is bringing result - we are delighted to annouce that our online store is up and running :) We are not only ofering footwear but also hosiery from the maker with 90 years experience in industry. Now we are working on co-operation with Art Gallery- hopefully young artist/designers will make for us hand made handbags and unique soutache hand made jewellery soon.
Wishing lovely day to everyone.
Kindest regards,

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