Blair Daniel is manager and buyer at men’s young fashion independent Concept Clothing in Aberdeen.
Now, following the Scottish referendum, I can say openly in Drapers that I am happy with the outcome of the vote. It was a highly debated topic of conversation for a long time and one I believe will continue as I feel the pro-Yes population will continue to promote independence.
There are obviously pros and cons for both sides, but from the point of view of a menswear buyer and manager of an independent clothing store a Yes vote would have been resoundingly bad for business. A large part of my job deals with facts and figures (percentage sell-through reports, departmental sales charts etc) and I felt that I could not vote ‘yes’ as there were not sufficient facts and figures to back up the SNP’s claims of a profitable Scotland.
With Scotland proposing to keep the NHS from being privatised and increasing the quality of education, my question was, ‘How does Scotland plan to pay for this?’ Taxes would obviously increase across the board, giving people – who are still recovering from the aftermath of the recession – even less disposable income.
The uncertainty surrounding currency was also a major factor in my personal vote, as Scotland may have taken the euro instead of the pound. Wholesale prices for stock would have increased and it would have been harder to trade with the English population, with whom I do a great deal of business online. Would suppliers be happy to trade to a Scottish business? Would we have to buy from a separate Scottish distributor for our current brands? All of these were unanswered questions.
As for the vote having an effect on business, since it was a No I don’t believe it will have any influence on the day-to-day business in the store.
It was a topic of conversation between staff and customers, with both sides of the vote respecting each other’s opinions. It was refreshing to hear the different reasons why people were voting both ways. I don’t believe the topic had a negative effect on trade, more so just a general point of conversation which affected all of us.