Top 5 tips for Independent Shop Owners

Saturday, July 02, 2016


As you probably know we have a tiny shop in Corbridge, Northumberland which is a fantastic hive of independent businesses set in a beautiful historic village. 
I’ve been in the Jubilee Buildings shop for 3 and half years and before then we were in a more modern shop in Bakery Yard and before that, in a shop tucked away behind a garage. A fair few locations and different set ups.

If you are thinking about taking the leap and setting up shop, here are my top 5 tips to setting up shop and keeping it running! 
Kirsty Taylor Jewellery Shop in Jubilee Buildings, Corbridge

1) Location, location, location. Despite being in the digital age and selling over the internet all over the world, local footfall is vital. Luckily, we do a lot of commission work and our customers are more than happy to seek us out but most of our day to day trade occurs because they are walking past the shop! We compromised on size and space to have our smaller shop in a better location and we really noticed it started to pay off in our first summer season in the new shop with all the tourists visiting Corbridge and Hadrian's Wall.

2) Smile and Chat. We have a tiny shop, it is pretty hard to ignore a customer, but we like to say Hi at the very least, it’s common courtesy. I’ll try my best to engaged them in conversation, but if they just want to browse in peace, that’s ok too. Let your enthusiasm for your shop and product show. 

3) Mix it up. It constantly surprises us that pieces sell straight  after they have moved to a different area in the shop. Move it around and freshen things up. We definitely still need to work on this  a lot more and the latest edition of Scarves from Hayley and Co. have helped to draw customers in to look at the scarves because the bright colours look so appealing.

4) Tomorrow is another day. There will be rubbish days. Days when you haven’t seen a soul or when you overhear someone slagging off your shop standing outside your door. The one that gets my goat is: ‘I don’t know how they make a living’ Resist the urge to shout down the street ‘Didn’t your Mum tell you if you had nothing nice to say to stay quiet?!!!!’
They aren’t your type of customer and they never will be. Concentrate your energy on those who will be you ideal customer.

5) Know you neighbours. Take time to chat to you neighbours and fellow shop keepers, you need each others support. Running a shop is hard enough but being able to recommend customers to other local shops will pay off. Tourists love an insider tip for the best places for lunch. 

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