From Stall to Store: the Rise of Repsycho
Like many of the companies on Bristol’s busy Gloucester Road, Repsycho is proud to be an independent and family-run business. Since 1995 when we opened our doors, we welcome customers from all over the city and beyond, and plan to keep growing. As with any story, though, it’s always best to start at the beginning, and, in the case of Repsycho, this means going back over thirty years.
Starting at the Market
While we love Bristol and are very happy to call it home, our roots can be traced back further East, to the City of London. Along with a passion for music and fashion, Repsycho’s founder, Andy Minter has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Starting with a stall in the world-famous Portobello Road Market, for over a decade he traded in vintage clothing creating the foundations of the store you know today.
Andy also travelled the country providing clothing options for style hungry students at campus markets. At this time he began his first venture into the world of shopkeeping, opening a small outlet in Southsea. This proved to be very popular in the area and offered inspiration for the next step. After moving with his young family to Bristol, he decided with his partner, Kirsty, to open a shop; Gloucester Road proved to be the ideal location!
Finding A Home on Gloucester Road
Gloucester Road is a fantastic choice for anyone starting a business in Bristol, reputedly the longest independent high street in the country, with a varied and eclectic mix of businesses and independent companies making it a popular choice for new ventures. It didn’t take too long to find our ideal premises. Number 85 began life as a butcher’s shop, still retaining the original façade and marble window display shelf. When we took it on it had been a model shop since the early 1960’s. In the early years, we shared the space with another business which went on to be Urban Fox. From the very first day, we felt welcomed to the vibrant Gloucester Road community, and that spirit continues to the present day.
As a big part of our commitment to independent and family business, our bottom floor is dedicated to another company entirely; Prime Cuts. With a stock of over 60,000 records, they have one of the most extensive ranges of vintage music in Bristol and can be found open at the same times as Repsycho (when Mike makes it in on time).
A few years after opening we realised our house was shrinking because of the growing collection of children, retro homeware and furniture; something had to go! We decided to keep the children and make use of the first floor of the shop and showcase our collection of design classics, post war furniture and kitsch objets d’art. Our ground floor is still dedicated to clothing both vintage and vintage inspired. Having developed close relationships with a number of suppliers at home and abroad over the years, we’re in a great position to offer popular exclusive items and a wide choice of other fab stuff.
A Fusion of Family Business
Repsycho’s story doesn’t end there; the next generation has inspired us to develop the business globally using the internet to expand our horizons. Continuing his father’s legacy, upon leaving college, Andy & Kirsty’s son, Louis, soon found an entrepreneurial spirit of his own and, indulging his passion for football, began buying, selling, and trading vintage football shirts. This business has developed into a thriving internet outlet and has expanded to sell many of the items available in store and much more besides. Ultimately this internet presence is the driving force behind the development of our website.
Breaking onto the Internet
This brings us to today, a time when business is dominated by the internet. As the next stage in Repsycho’s development, we’ve been working hard to move our extensive collection of vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, homeware, and other goods to a platform which can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This new chapter is very exciting for us, as it will enable us to start growing our already-impressive selection to be much broader.
Every store on Gloucester Road has a story, and we all like to help each other out. As a big part of this, Bristols Independent District, or GRBID for short, helps to bring all of the businesses in the area together. You can find out about the other companies in the District with a look at their site; they’re always running events for families, young people, and the other demographics found in Bristol.
Thanks for taking a look at our store’s rich history. It’s been a busy couple of decades, and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved and thankful to the staff, friends and family who have helped us along the way- not forgetting the most important people, our fabulous customers! At the moment we have a great team on whom we rely and make working fun, Di and Pippa that’s you! Two of our other sons Max and Theo also make regular appearances in the shop when needed and one of them has proved to be a whizz on the camera too! Take a look at our Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up to date with changes at Repsycho, and never miss that vintage piece you’ve been looking for.