A fashion retailer says she has increased her sales thanks to a campaign backed by the Welsh Government and run with Grey4Gold. Michelle Smith sells ladies’ fashion and accessories from her shop called Divine in John Street, Porthcawl.
Recently Michelle decided to get involved with the Thriving High Street campaign which offers subsidised training and mentoring. The campaign is supported by the Welsh Government’s Sector Priorities Fund Pilot (SPFP) programme, through the European Social Fund, and delivered locally by the National Skills Academy for Retail (NSAR). Under the scheme the mentoring service worth up to £1,500 is available for £50 and courses costing £80-120 are available for £25.
Michelle’s Grey4Gold mentor Andrew Shufflebotham has a keen understanding of retailing in South Wales and gave Michelle the confidence to increase her product range.
“Andrew was really good for me and the mentoring was really useful because I’ve always had a business partner but now I’m on my own it’s nice to have someone to bounce things off and I found that really useful. He knows some of the problems I was coming across and how to sort out the problems. We spoke mainly about organising cashflow really in this kind of climate and I wanted advice on which products to sell or not and he talked me through all that.
One of the main issues for me was whether to stock clothing or not and I’ve tiptoed in and out of that a few times and it’s difficult to find good quality suppliers at my price point. I knew in my head that I needed to do the clothing but I needed somebody to give me a second opinion really.
When we started we were purely selling jewellery, scarves and bags but I’ve tried to extend that now to clothes. We had new brands of giftware coming in and there is a gap in the market for good quality giftware. Last year we had a really difficult year with the business and we lost a lot of confidence and Andrew gave me a lot more reassurance that I am doing the right thing. He said I was on the right track and just needed to tweak this and tweak that. I’ve seen an increase in sales since Andrew’s involvement.”
Thank you Grey4Gold!”