If you’re thinking about starting a retail business or you’ve recently done so but think you could benefit from some advice from people who’ve been there and done that, then our first ‘Ask a Sage Business Expert’ is for you. Whether you’re thinking online or on the high Street, we’ve pulled together a panel of four Sage Business Experts with lots of experience in the retail world to help you out with some words of advice.
How to ask your question
If you have any questions you’d like to ask, you can tweet them @SageUK using the hashtag #SageRetailQ or alternatively ask it by posting in the comment box at the bottom of this page. We’ll put up a new post featuring all of your questions on the blog next week.
Our panel of retail experts include:
Jeremy Corner – Blue Eyed Sun
Jeremy is the co-owner of award winning, greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun and award winning wedding stationery specialist, Ivy Ellen. He sits on the Greeting Card Association Council, the Giftware Association’s National Committee, is a Sage Business Expert and is a regular speaker at industry events, and blogs about successful retailing on his company blog. Jeremy has supported hundreds of new greeting card start-ups each year through his keynote address at the annual Ladder Club event in the card industry.
Rachel Parkin – Balagan Group
Rachel is the owner and Creative Director of the Balagan Group, a jewellery design and wholesale business. Rachel is also the owner of two retail stores; a boutique and a contemporary jeweller. She is also the founder of Retailrehab, which assists & supports independent retailers by creating a resource for sales generating ideas and best practice.
Graham Soult – CannyInsights
Graham is a regular commentator on retail topics via Twitter, TV, radio and the press, and blogs about issues and developments in retail at Soult’s Retail View.
Drawing from his unique depth and breadth of knowledge and experience, Graham’s consultancy business, CannyInsights.com, provides market insight, research, analysis and consultancy with a retail flavour. He is an accredited business mentor, working with retailers to help them better understand and communicate with their customers and with other organisations that wish to base their decision making on retail insight that is robust, up-to-date and usable.
Miranda Harper – Zaini Hats
Zaini hats, the brand, launched as a result of an impossibility to find a comfy, colourful and stylish enough beanie hat. Scottish ski instructor Miranda Harper turned to making her own whilst in the resort of Haute Nendaz, Switzerland in 2010. No beanie was baggy or bright enough for her style, so she made her own to fit her fashion needs on the slopes. The trend was quick to catch on and suddenly everyone wanted one of these hats. Three years later and with a successful e-commerce platform Miranda, now 26, still runs the business solely from her flat in London selling over 7000 beanies per annum. Zaini sells directly to the customer, as this meant they can keep control over everything. No loans to cover trade orders, no hassle of chasing payments and no ‘not’ fulfilling orders – just a very simply selling business model directly to our customers – it also means they make maximum profit on every beanie sold. It may limit their sales at the moment but in the long run it’ll leave a strong brand presence and allow them to enter trade sales when the time is right.
So, over to you. Ask away!