Hello, thank you for coming over to my blog. I have tons of shop experience and can't wait to start to sharing my retail advice, hints and tips with you.
I thought I’d start by introducing myself and explaining how I ended up starting a shop at 18! I’m Hana and back in 1999 I decided to fulfil a lifelong dream to own my own shop (inspired by watching Mr Benn & Bagpuss as a kid and a desire to avoid going to University to study Chemistry & Biology!). I opened The Bead Shop in January 2000 in a small retail unit in Nottingham’s West End Arcade.
I was working in a bead shop to save money before going to University when I saw the opportunity to start my own business. I discovered that the shop was being closed as the owners were moving away. Whilst I was running their shop I received lots of compliments from customers. They were very enthusiastic about the improvements I had made, which helped me to see that there was still a market in Nottingham for beads. And so I decided to become self-employed and venture into the wonderful world of retail.
Within the first year it became clear that the shop we were in was too small; we often had customers queuing up outside on Saturdays! This coincided with wanting to start teaching ‘how to’ workshops so needing more space. I also wanted to be able to go to the toilet without having to lock the shop up and run across the road to use the facilities in the library opposite!
When it came to securing a lease on a new larger shop I was given some invaluable advice by a local shopkeeper: use a chartered surveyor. I’d never heard of chartered surveyors before but thankfully I listened. This saved me thousands of pounds in rent as well as persuading the new landlord to take me seriously.
By 2005 we had outgrown these premises too. After several months of shop viewings and negotiations we found the perfect location on Market Street in Nottingham. At the end of the year, after securing a substantial bank loan, I was lucky enough to buy a 5 storey Grade II listed shop. Due to the fun loading restrictions we had to carry most of the stock and furniture between the old and new shops so we have no plans to ever move again!
Although being a shopkeeper came fairly naturally to me (my Great Aunt owned a haberdashery shop in Withernsea and my Great Grandfather was a very astute business man) there were many challenges along the way. The greatest of which were finding retail premises and securing a business loan to get started.
I have lots more to say about retail, shops and funding and how to successfully achieve your own bricks and mortar small business so look out for part 2. If you have any questions or think I can help you please get in touch.