Newcastle fashion retailer follows in father's successful footsteps

Jenny Peng Gillender is following in the footsteps of her father Wilf - a former master franchisee for Body Shop - by launching her own business

Christopher Welch, partner at Sintons, with Jenny Peng Gillender in the Peak Boutique website
Christopher Welch, partner at Sintons, with Jenny Peng Gillender in the Peak Boutique website

The daughter of one of the region’s most successful retail entrepreneurs has become a businesswoman in her own right after launching a fashion boutique.

Jenny Peng Gillender has set up Peak Boutique, an online fashion store offering women’s clothing and accessories from a range of affordable brands, with new products added on a daily basis.

Based in Newcastle, the business was set in motion earlier this month and within eight hours of the start of trading the website had received 8,000 hits.

In its first month of business, orders have been placed from as far afield as Hong Kong and Australia, with regular orders coming from the United States.

The 25-year-old, who has an MBA from Newcastle University Business School, has overseen every aspect of the creation of Peak Boutique, which has been in the planning for over a year and operates from newly-acquired premises in Fenham.

Peakboutique.co.uk, which was also designed by Peng Gillender, uses two of her school friends as its models, one of whom – Kallula Dixon – is Miss Philippines UK, as well as being the website design manager at AYO Digital.

The young entrepreneur is following in the footsteps of her father, Wilf Gillender, who owned the master franchise of Body Shop in the North East, as well as for the whole of France, before selling his franchises back to the beauty products giant, and was also instrumental in the creation of the brand’s Body Shop Direct division.

The business has already expanded, with Peng Gillender taking on her first member of staff, general manager Amy Law.

She said: “I have always wanted to launch a fashion business, but I’m very grateful to my dad for encouraging me to get my qualifications first so that I could fully understand all aspects of business.

“He has taught me so much about how to be successful and has given me so much support and advice.

“Already, we have got off to such a brilliant start, and are seeing orders and regular visitors to the site from all over the world.

“While there are a lot of online fashion retailers, I think we are really standing out from the crowd through our attention to detail.

“Our website is totally bespoke and designed by me personally, we are the only retailer of our kind to offer a loyalty scheme and feedback from customers has been fantastic, and we are delighted with how our first few weeks in business have gone.”

Jenny has been supported legally in the creation of Peak Boutique by Newcastle law firm Sintons. Christopher Welch, partner in the company and commercial department, who has acted for the Gillender family for more than 20 years, led the team who completed the work.

She also secured funding for her venture from Barclays.

Christopher Welch said: “Jenny has spent a long time planning and working on the launch of her own online fashion store, and her hard work is now reaping rewards.

“The business is ideally positioned to become one of the key players in online women’s fashion, and we are very pleased to have been able to support Jenny in its creation.”

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