Looking back over the highlights and significant moments of 2016: awards for our key staff and our continuing commitment to the small business community.
Whilst A Hume has enjoyed a year of consistent progress: steady growing sales online and off, and the introduction of a couple of carefully chosen brands that sit well within our collection of international country wear – the glory and the awards have been saved for our staff.
Drapers’ 30 Under 30
The hard work and accomplishments of our staff, collectively and as individuals, are the reason for our success, so we were delighted in January when Vanessa Murray was named one of Drapers’ 30 Under 30. Vanessa has been our ladieswear buyer since 2012 and it is a huge honour and significant indicator of her future success to be named on this list.
Each year, Drapers’, the periodical for the fashion retail industry, handpick thirty of the most talented, creative and successful young people working in fashion retail across the UK. Most of those recognised work within much larger businesses, international concerns and household names such as Topshop and Superdry. For Vanessa to be chosen is remarkable and a tribute to her role in the success and continued emergence of our ladieswear department.
Vanessa has a great talent for reading the country ladieswear market. She’s succeeded in delivering exactly the right balance of elegant classic style with just a touch of contemporary élan. It’s not easy to get right but the response to the introduction of new brands such as Anna Lascata and Fairfax & Favor speaks for itself.
We’re thrilled for Vanessa and delighted to have played a part in developing her talent.
Supporting Independent Retail
Throughout the year, we’ve continued our commitment to supporting small businesses and independent retailers.
Here in Kelso we work closely with our colleagues and peers on the Visit Kelso initiative. Visit Kelso is a group of small businesses that work collaboratively to encourage locals and visitors to shop, eat, play and stay in Kelso and the surrounding area. Through sharing ideas, best practice and pulling resources we hope to enhance the success of our businesses, individually and collectively. We also hope to make Kelso a better, brighter place for all.
Nationally, we participated in Small Business Saturday and the American Express campaign #ShopSmall (see blog post #SmallBizSat What’s so Great About Big?). Small Business Saturday is a grassroots movement that highlights the important role that small businesses play in our community. This year Small Business Saturday UK took place on Saturday 3 December 2016. Working together we have a much better chance of encouraging consumers to shop local and support their small business communities. Last year the campaign managed to achieve an increased spend in small businesses of 24%.
We’re not entirely sure what the uplift for A Hume was on 3rd December but it felt busy and I certainly fell asleep earlier than usual that night.
Maintaining Integrity and Trust
It’s especially important for small independent retailers to maintain their integrity and strength in the face of pressures such as Black Friday and discount pricing models (see our blog post The Truth Behind Black Friday Discounts).
At A Hume we’ve been quite clear about our feelings on discount pricing. In our opinion the discount model relies on an inflated full price to support the discounting. Consumers never know when they’re getting a true bargain and the persistent incidence of flash sales and discount codes only serves to undermine the trust between retailers and their customers.
Rest assured we won’t be changing our pricing policy. Though if you’re looking for a bargain you’ll find some in our good, old fashioned post-Christmas sale. Happening now, right here.
Finally, before I sign off for 2016, I’d like to say thank you to you, our customers. You might’ve just found us or been shopping with us for many years, whatever the case we appreciate your custom. There’s a lot of choice out there and we’re glad you chose us. We’re glad we had what you wanted and that we were able to help. We hope you continue to shop with us through 2017.
May 2017 bring you health, wealth and happiness.
From Archie, Karen and all at A Hume Country Clothing.
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