A fashion retailer says she is “more confident” for the future thanks to a campaign backed by the Welsh Government. Melanie Jenkins has sold ladies’ fashion for nineteen years from her shop called Mossies in John Street, Llanelli.
Mossies has a reputation for quality, classic cut fashion clothing and accessories with exclusive designs from France, Spain, Germany and Holland. Recently Melanie heard about the Thriving High Street campaign which offers subsidised training and mentoring. Under the scheme the mentoring service run by Grey4Gold and worth up to £1,500 is available for £50 and courses costing £80-120 are available for £25. Melanie’s Grey4Gold mentor was former retail executive Lynne Robson who specialised in merchandising and buying for 550 shops throughout Europe.
“The mentoring was quite positive really and it was just nice to have some feedback from somebody who’s got retail expertise and can look at your business in a different way. To have a mentor like Lynne was a win-win situation because I went through ideas where I would like to go with my business and the advice was invaluable.
I also found out about the areas that I’m doing right so that gave me a lot of confidence to move forward. My buying was a bit of an issue with me and how much stock I need so we went through that. I did speak to her about finance and then went on the finance course and learnt how to do the spreadsheets so I have more idea about my margins and stock levels. Lynne advised me that I should always hold back on 10-15% of my budget for in-season fashions. She said my merchandising was very good and didn’t advise any changes.
When I organise my own fashion shows and promotion days I have a lot of support from my customers who are very loyal. I’ve been involved from the start of the National Skills Academy for Retail with the mystery shopping activity and it all evolved from that really. I do think it’s invaluable to see things through somebody else’s eyes and it’s a fantastic offer for what you’re paying and it makes you feel better about your business.”