Lifelong friends take over thriving Richmond boutique

Sara Rutherford and Caroline Clarke outside Larches.

Life has an unerring tendency to come full circle and for Sara Rutherford it most certainly has.

Sara and lifelong friend Caroline Clarke took over a ladies boutique in Richmond last year and coincidentally it is only two doors away from where Sara’s father Randall Orchard began his construction business in Rosemary Lane nearly five decades ago.

The retail industry has been suffering in recent years but Sara and Caroline’s shop, Larches of Richmond, has been a big success despite these difficult times.

It caters for sizes 8-24 and a hugely varied age range, but the winning formula according to them both is the level of service a customer receives when they walk through the door.

Sara said: “There is obviously a place for online shopping for clothes but a lot of people still want to go to a shop, actually look at the clothes or accessories they are interested in and try them on in a very pleasant environment. That will not change. It has been the basis for shopping for so many years and it still is.”

Sara and Caroline say they owe a debt to the previous owners who created Larches in the same building 15 years earlier.

“They wanted to pass the shop on and we were in the perfect position to do so,” said Caroline, who has known Sara since they first attended Ravensworth Primary School together at four years of age.

“It was a great opportunity and one which was too good to turn down.

“We have been friends practically all our lives and we have yet to have an argument in all those years. Sara is very good at social media, banking and the technical side and she says I am more adept at the front of house, but we listen to each other’s opinions all the time. Neither of us believe we have all the answers and this is a team effort.”

Brands on offer at Larches include Alice Collins, Soya Concept, Lily And Me, plus Amazing Woman knitwear, Lunar shoes and Robell trousers. Accessories include bags, scarves and jewellery.

Sara said: “We have had really good feedback about our ranges on offer and if we haven’t got the correct size or colour we can usually order it in for the customer.”

The store underwent a refurbishment earlier this year and Larches of Richmond has now been open just over a year.

While Caroline is from farming stock in Gilling West, Sara’s father has been a successful builder in the Richmond area for decades.

Caroline said: “The main attribute we both bring to the business is we are interested in helping people. Neither of us are egotistical and whilst I delve into the creative and practical side, Sara concentrates more on administration.”

Sara added: “This was a very well-loved business ran by the previous owners. We focus on our customers and are extremely proud to be bringing excusive new suppliers to the town and surrounding areas. We are delighted with what we have achieved in such a short space of time. There is a real buzz about Larches of Richmond in the town.”

You can find up to date information on the shop through Facebook and Instagram at ‘Larches of Richmond.’

The shop will host a Ladies Fashion Show this Thursday (April 20) at Catterick Golf Club at 7pm.

Tickets are £10 and includes a glass of prosecco and canapes and are available at the golf club, or at Larches of Richmond. Proceeds go towards the Lady Captain’s charities.