Case study: Young Ideas
The recession also brought opportunities.
If you think that the recent strains of political, economic and social upheaval are reason enough to put off that stellar business plan, think again.
Young Ideas is a womenswear boutique in Derbyshire. By any measure it has been a success, scooping awards and expanding and thriving in business.
The remarkable thing is that owner Anne Wright acquired the store in 2008 – just before the recession struck.
She says: “It forced us to look even harder at the business and understand it better.”
While the store had been running since the late 60s, Wright says it had run out of steam and wasn’t winning any new, younger customers to replace the older ones before she bought it.
Suddenly that went from crucial to urgent. How did Wright manage it?
“The key lesson is that you have to completely immerse yourself in the business to be able to understand it,” she says. “This is absolutely essential for a fashion business such as this, which depends on forward ordering.
“I needed to be involved in everything for at least 18 months so that I could understand what customers wanted, how they were buying and who they were. It is absolutely essential to know your customers if you are going to survive as an independent retailer.”
Wright didn’t only survive despite the economic upheaval. The disruption worked to Wright’s advantage too.
“The recession also brought with it opportunities. In 2011, we opened in Derby city centre, in a new store. It was a good location with a low overhead. and we were beginning to feel confident about the brand portfolio.
“This was definitely when I felt I was starting up a business because this was a new store for Young Ideas in a different town.”
Then when the landlord of the original store refused to negotiate the rent, Wright relocated to a bigger premises, moving Young Ideas to an iconic but empty seventeenth century coach house in Ashbourne.
Wright has since developed the premises to add new units and add a restaurant as well as adding menswear.
The result? The business has tripled since 2008. Who says you can’t build success in difficult times?