Around week 4 the scaffolding suddenly disappeared, the shop sign could be installed and the transformation was complete. I placed an advert in the Hastings Independent and began distributing my fliers around town, as I knew that I needed to quickly increase awareness further afield. Plans are in place to extend the promotional activity…maybe a blimp?
For the next couple of weeks, hopes of the scaffolding being removed were dashed repeatedly but still the determined shoppers of the Old Town ducked under and vaulted over, in order to visit the store that had caused quite a stir. There isn’t anything in a 2 mile radius that sells anything similar – men’s boutiques are few and far between! Sales were good and already I was seeing repeat business from some of the locals. I was also beginning to understand what was selling and what wasn’t but that was always going to be the case and it’s simply a case of listening and monitoring.
With very little retail experience and a brand new and unfamiliar till system on the counter, the first few days really were learning on the job. Soon got the hang of it though and without exception, the customers were patient and understanding. The comments I received in that first week were overwhelmingly positive and so to everyone involved in the appearance of the shop and its stock I remain forever grateful. Still the scaffolding in place.
The second weekend of the shop’s existence saw me having to travel to Mongolia on business and so I had to leave my new baby in someone else’s hands. Luckily for me I have family I knew I could trust to take care of everything and so I set off full of confidence.
The disaster that brought the business crashi The weekend passed successfully and I could even log into the till system from my hotel in Ulaanbaatar to see how sales were doing, just to reassure myself.
The lead-in to the opening of the store was not without its challenges on many fronts. The whole building was still being restored and the scaffolding was still in place, creating a literal barrier to entry but, with spring around the corner and the all important May bank holidays looming, I could delay no longer. At 3pm on Friday 20th March, thanks to a lot of hard work from friends and family, the till was fired up, the lights were on and the ‘Open’ sign was in the window. Just three days previous the shop was empty and the stock still unpacked and unpriced and it is a source of great pride that we managed to open on the target date…even if it was a few hours late.