BREXIT AND THE SMALL INDEPENDENT RETAILER. MY STORY SO FAR………..

In this blog I deliberately ignore many of the wider issues surrounding Brexit. In it I aim only to let you know, should you be interested, how it is affecting my business so far. I run a small clothes shop that specialises in brands who take a pro-active attitude towards tackling climate change and social injustice.

BAD: Uncertainty about exchange rates means I have sadly decided to suspend my accounts with those smaller boutique brands who invoice in Euros.
GOOD:I will be looking to take on some more local and british-made clothing to ensure the selection on the shop floor remains unique and interesting.

BAD: Everything is getting more expensive. Inflation has increased prices across all the big makes and whilst most are shouldering their fair share of the burden the rest is being passed on to me (the middle man) and to you (the consumer).
GOOD: No-one is talking about compromising on quality or ethos. Perhaps we will consume less and repair more which will be good for the environment.

BAD: Due to the rising expense of producing in Europe some of my suppliers are having to restructure their production lines to negate the effect of a weaker pound and this means that, for the time being, they can't offer their whole range at wholesale prices.
GOOD:Brands are working very hard to contain price rises and hope to return to normal service next year. The local and british-made brands I stock should remain unaffected.

BAD: Everyone is making these decisions blind because no-one had,or has, an actual plan for Britains' economy outside Europe.
GOOD:The companies I'm working with are being cautious, sensible and pragmatic. No-one is panicking yet.

BAD: Most labels are reducing their ranges and sticking with tried and tested styles thus stifling innovation and creativity.
GOOD:Most labels are reducing their ranges and sticking with tried and tested styles thus reducing waste.

BAD: Confidence is low so some brands are nervously tightening up their terms and this puts pressure (e.g interest on late payments) onto me, and I hate it when things get nasty.
GOOD:Some of the brands are being more patient, understanding and generally supportive which gives me a chance. It also warms the heart.

BAD: Have I mentioned that we are all working blind? There is a real danger of making the wrong decisions and going bust. No-one seems sure what they want from Brexit so this particular stress, and there were already plenty, seems pointless and risky. It could easily have been avoided.
GOOD:When you run a small business there's always the risk of making the wrong decisions and paying the price. It's a buzz when you get it right.

BAD: Uncertainty about the future has meant that any plans I had of moving back into town are now being put on hold. This doesn't feel a safe time to be borrowing money to spend on a fancy new high street store. That dream's currently on hold. Instead I will be focussing on keeping my choice of nice stock up and my overheads down.
GOOD:In this way I hope to be able to continue to offer my customers competitive prices on a great choice of quality clothing.

BAD: The recent Brexit impact study has indicated that most of us are going to be much worse off.
GOOD:Perhaps this will add weight to the argument for a second referendum?

So that's where I'm up to. How's it changing things for you?

4 Responses

  1. So much of this is familiar from when the current government started decimating the economy and making things hard for small businesses when they got into power. Brexit is the latest in a series of cynical and short sighted decisions which will make us all much worse off. Hang in there. Something has to change.
    • kate Grant
      Thanks Ivan - and yes they do seem to be running the country from the Philip Green's guide to business.
  2. Thanks for sharing. A bit less hyperbole and a few more facts/experiences (like yours) will hopefully (finally) create the conditions for a more mature debate about Brexit. Popped into your store at Christmas btw. Only meant to browse but ended up buying some great clothes. Keep up the good work :-)
    • kate Grant
      Thanks Neil.

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