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From bin to beautiful: Dundee shop’s colourful mission to boost city centre

Founder Daniëlle Gaffney du Plooy outside ReBoutique.
Founder Daniëlle Gaffney du Plooy outside ReBoutique.

When a Dundee social enterprise received more furniture and clothes donations than it knew what do to with, upcycling shop ReBoutique was born.

The Castle Street shop sells upcycled clothes, furniture and decor to prevent these items going into landfill.

Social enterprise Uppertunity runs different therapeutic groups including sewing and woodwork for additional needs.

Founder Daniëlle Gaffney du Plooy got so many donations for the groups, she realised she could fill a shop.

“It’s a bit scary to open after a pandemic, but we thought let’s just do it and have faith,” she says.

“We see lots of shops closing and the High Street not being busy, so we want to add back to it.”

‘Rewriting’ the High Street

With ReBoutique, Daniëlle aims to “rewrite” the High Street and the way people shop.

ReBoutique offers upcycled clothes, furniture, accessories and home decor.

Through offering unique pieces, she hopes to make the shopping experience more authentic and engaging.

She says: “We want people to talk to us about what we do and be aware of what goes into making a product.

“The work that goes into designing and making something takes quite a lot of energy, so we want to highlight that.

Daniëlle’s yellow top was previously a dress upcycled at a ReBoutique workshop.

“By making it more personal and fun, people appreciate the shopping experience more.”

Everything in the shop is made by staff, volunteers and Uppertunity group members.

ReBoutique workshops

There is also a rail for rent in the shop where local designers and makers can showcase their collections.

The upcycled dungarees in the shop window has made many shoppers take a second look.

In the front of ReBoutique, there is space for staff and volunteers to run creative workshops.

Anything made in upcycling sessions gets sold in the shop, and profits go back to Uppertunity to fund therapy groups.

ReBoutique’s sewers also make custom dog jackets.

It also helps the business employ staff with additional needs, and currently 60% of its workforce has barriers to employment of some kind.

Fashion library

Daniëlle is currently working on the latest addition to the shop which will be a fashion library.

She hopes it will inspire people to rent clothes they will only wear once rather than buy them.

“People will come with bags of clothes and some of it still has labels,” she says.

“We’ve seen this a few times, where someone dropped something off and it’s the same dress in three different colours.

“We’re looking for men’s suits, which is proving very hard. It seems men don’t get rid of clothes.”

Daniëlle hopes ReBoutique’s atmosphere will keep customers coming back to the shop.

Since opening the shop two months ago, the founder has noticed footfall is its biggest challenge.

Despite noticing less people in the city centre, she hopes ReBoutique’s offering will draw people back towards independent shops.

Daniëlle says: “When people come in, they love the atmosphere and what we do.

“We want to do more across Scotland to prevent waste and inspire people to make a difference.”

Any donations can be dropped off at ReBoutique, Uppertunity’s Dudhope Castle base or Serendipities Cafe.

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