New up in our Q&A series is Faye Clark who runs the fabulous Finale Shoes in Corbridge, one of the North East’s best independent shoe retailers with an emphasis on unique style and hands on customer care.
How did you get started in the business?
My mum has had Finale for over 11 years now but I joined three and half years ago after we decided the business was growing and mum needed more staff. I have always helped mum with the business so it seemed a great opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on.
What’s the first thing you do in the working day?
Check social media and my emails, I do this before I even get out of bed!
Whats the best business decision you have made in the last 12 months?
To embrace social media and incorporate it into our business in a way that works for us and our customers.
Who in business inspires you? And why?
My mum inspires me, she is always super motivated and has such a good work ethic those around her cannot fail to be caught up in her enthusiasm for her products and her love of matching customers to their perfect pair of shoes or handbag. She works very hard and always has done while ensuring she is there for her family too. I treasure our relationship and feel very lucky to get to work alongside her in the business she has built.
What is your favourite part of your role within the business?
Dealing with people – this could be working in the shop selling shoes, choosing new season collections with brand representatives, chatting to people via social media and networking with other business owners. This is what keeps my job varied as people are all individual and are all interesting in their own ways.
What do you see as being the most important thing to get right in running your business?
Customer Service – no doubt about this, as a small business this is what sets you apart and is why customers return to buy your product, engage with your online or recommend you to friends. This is always my number one priority.
What marketing activities and tools do you find most effective?
I am really enjoying using social media such as twitter and facebook and I am always surprised to be told by customers that they spotted something on our feeds that reminded them or persuaded them to come into the shop. I feel that rather than have 100’s of random followers we have people looking at our social media who are really interested in our shop either online or in Corbridge so this makes it a worthwhile and relevant tool for me. I also like using mailchimp for sending newsletters out to customers – again feedback suggests customers appreciate the fact I don’t bombard them constantly with emails but keep in touch with them and let them know about key dates such as new collections or sale previews.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in business?
Make your customer whoever they may be the centre of your focus and let everything else fall into place around that, don’t be sidetracked by other things as no matter how perfect systems or marketing is, if the service for the customer isn’t right it’s all a waste of time!
What is your main business goal for the year ahead?
I think as an independent in the current economic climate I would be silly to say anything here except to hope to continue to be here next year doing what I love with my mum. If I am being optimistic I would like to see our business keep growing and Corbridge to continue to grow as a shopping destination.
To see the gorgeous range of shoes that Faye and her mum have on offer, why not have a trip to Corbridge? Or check out their website