When I sat down to think about rounding up 2015 I had a moment’s blank. 2014 was a huge year for us, our 85th Anniversary Year, re-modelling the shop at The Square in Kelso and multiple wins at the Drapers Independents Awards. By comparison, what are the things that marked 2015?
Don’t get me wrong it’s been busy, it’s not as though we’ve been plumping up our laurels and kicking back. With Karen around that’s simply not an option. Each Christmas I give her a glossy gossip rag and a bar of chocolate in the hope that on Boxing Day – just one day of the year – she’ll indulge in a spot of idleness. I’ve been doing this for countless years – it never works.
So, yes, busy. Busier than ever in fact. A year of hard graft paying off. Now that I’ve slowed down to consider it I’d say my biggest satisfaction of the year is seeing how the younger members of our team have developed and how proud I am of the contribution they’ve made to the business.
Over the last few years Vanessa has introduced several new brands to ladieswear: Anna Lascata and Fairfax & Favor stand out immediately. Introducing new names to an established market like country clothing is always a risk but Vanessa has judged it well and both brands have been very successful.
Then there’s what we affectionately call ‘Rob’s Shop’ – our second Kelso shop – but really the domain and success story of Rob Bacon, our manager. Rob has brought on key brands like Schoffel focusing on the outdoor and sporting elements of our collections.
There’s also the less visible but equally vital work that goes on upstairs on Karen’s patch. As we’ve expanded so has our team and I’m continually impressed by the talent and commitment of all those who put time in at A Hume.
James Abbott our tireless tech geek is now deservedly Director of Digital Strategy & Optimisation. Judy Potts has joined us as Marketing Manager and Erin Burton and A Hume model, Hannah Fairgrieve are both hands-on-deck in online admin.
Another big development that came to fruition in 2015 was the regeneration of Kelso town centre. More hard graft paying off. This project has been chugging away for 5 years. In this time £1.4million has been spent on improvements to traffic flow, civic space and regenerating commercial and historic buildings. In my opinion time and money very well spent.
In May the Kelpies visited our newly spruced town centre. Seeing them in The Square surrounded by school children chanting ‘Kelpies! Kelpies! Kelpies!’ was definitely one of the highlights of the year for me.
The Kelpies seem to be loved by everybody, people flocked to see them. The Square was packed, which is exactly how it should be. I wish we could’ve kept them permanently. It would’ve been great to have them in town when the Tour of Britain came whizzing through.
A few years ago if you’d told me that an entire community would get excited about a cycling race I’d have told you to pull the other one. But all of Kelso was buzzing when the Tour of Britain came to Kelso in September. The whole town was wildly excited, me included. There was a week long programme of events and – it might be a cliché to say it – there was a carnival atmosphere.
We threw ourselves into it, as did lots of other retailers in the town under the Visit Kelso initiative that Karen has been involved with. The window displays were fantastic.
It’s also been a year of trying new things. In July we packed up and ventured off to the Scottish Game Fair in Perth. We haven’t done many big events, tending to keep it local but we had a great time introducing ourselves and our wares to a new audience. I’d like to think there’ll be more events like this on the calendar for 2016.
Planning has begun. 2016 is a fresh page, we’re looking forward to it and we’re looking to fill it. Just time to wish you a Happy New Year as the clocks tick forward. May 2016 bring you health, wealth and happiness.
– From Archie, and all at A Hume.
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