I’ve made a lot of mistakes with my business. Never having never had any training in the field, it’s a constant learning curve. So I’ve had to learn fast and hard! Whilst some people are funny about sharing mistakes and failures I’m in the camp that happens to think they contribute to success and elevate your business over time. It’s all a process. Plus if any of you guys are in retail or thinking of going into it I’m hoping this might help.
I thought to launch a biz I needed fancy bags, fancy photography, lots of staff but the truth of the matter is that in those early days I should have spent all available funds on product and not the bits around the sides. It’s the product selection that has gotten us noticed and not a £20k bag bill. Lesson well and truly learnt!
Back when I first opened my store I would slavishly follow interior trends and buy accordingly, thinking that’s what people wanted. So pale colours in summer, darker hues in winter etc. etc. It’s only after a few really tough months that I forced myself to ask whether I would actually take any of this stuff home. Looking around I realised I only wanted a few things, so from then on I decided to buy from the heart. If I didn’t want half of the generic stuff I was selling in my own home, then why would my customers? My heart now drives this business. Unless I love it’s not going through the door simple as. That in turn has made us different, created a buzz and has lead the business to where it is today.
BLOWING THE BUDGET
Knowing your budget is key. Creativity is great and all, and believe me when I say this – I hate budgets -but I know that I need to stick to them. Occasionally I’ll be like to heck with it (especially when expanding our own label) but generally I follow the plan. I have to stick with them, it makes no sense not to. This isn’t some kind of hobby or lifestyle biz this is a business that supports a lot of people and now factories too. So if I overspend it has consequences. I am always aware of that and the bigger we’ve grown the more aware I’ve become.
BEING SET IN YOUR WAYS
In business, you can’t afford to not be adaptable. If something isn’t working change it, the advantage of being small is that you can react really quickly. I once introduced a toiletry range spent a load on it and it totally flopped. We weren’t known for them, we didn’t display them well enough and lo and behold no one bought into them. Stick with what you are good at and lines that don’t work reduce, get out and move on!
Without trying to sound schmaltzy I truly believe you can follow your dreams if you put the hours in. A lot of people seem to think our success happened over night. It totally didn’t – it’s been a long slog, and in my mind we’re not even at the bottom of the mountain yet. There is still so much to do and get done. I’m constantly learning and I always think I can do things better. Use any mistakes as a road map for what not to do going forward. Mistakes are key in making you successful. I one hundred per cent believe that!