The interesting thing about writing courses is that they throw up all sorts of questions. For example the retail course that we’re launching this Friday (which I should say I am terribly excited about) throws up about a zillion questions. Why do all our high streets look the same, why does everyone buy from the same shows, why do so many retailers play it safe with product selection, how come when I want to list a handful of truly amazing stores (talking interiors here) around the world no more than a handful pop up? As a retailer isn’t it our job to push boundaries a tad to make customers think wow I never thought of doing that – something as simple as putting a mirror that is too big on a wall that is too small. Something as simple as papering a wall to enliven it and then plonking a super sized zebra on it, or lighting some candles when the light drops or accessorising a table or mantle like you would at home, rather than in a clinical boring fashion.
I didn’t go to retail school, I learnt the hard way from experience and yes I’ve made mistakes some huge mistakes but I am a true believer you have to make mistakes in order to succeed, and I know the economy sucks and its tough out there so I totally get the lets play it safe theory rather than lets take a punt theory. My problem and its either a problem or an advantage is that nothing goes in that store of mine that I wouldn’t have at home no matter how commercial it may appear. Nothing makes it thru the door unless I can envisage it at home on a shelf, a table, wherever. Obviously that isn’t the golden rule for everyone in retail but it works for me, more importantly it works for our customers and I think it creates a point of difference from all the other hum drum stuff out there.
The point I here you ask, Ok the point don’t buy things that you don’t love, say you need a pick me up on a weekend so I don’t know maybe some cushion which is mediocre takes your fancy and does the trick for a second, except a few months later it doesn’t so don’t buy it. If I need a pick me up I go to Aesop or buy flowers, or books but when it comes to filling my home with stuff I never say just buy a lamp because I need a lamp and I think sod it will replace in a year. Nope no light for me until I find the exact thing – which is perhaps a little bonkers and yes I probably need therapy but when you buy what you love you will never want to get rid of anything. Anyways I’m rambling and I should go for a run except I am trying to stay here in the warm rambling way to you guys.
Retail classes launch this Friday if you’re thinking about setting up a business in retail, on line or bricks and mortar and want to know the pitfalls and how to succeed is all in the class. Our advice doesn’t come from books it comes from experience, we failed many times but we’ve succeeded more than we’ve failed and as odd as this sounds when other businesses are going bust left right and center we have never had such a strong year. The reasons, well its all in the class, happy Tuesday