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As business grows, so does the paperwork

Rebecca Furbank, Director of womenswear independent Anne Furbank in Buckden, Cambridgeshire.

Last week was our autumn launch in the shop. We invited our customers to come and view the new season’s collections, we served champagne, had models and a wonderful gift for everyone that made a purchase. It was buzzing, everyone was in a good mood and the stock was flying out the door.

It was great to be on the shop floor working with customers, hearing their feedback and getting that sales excitement.

I have a great sales director who runs the shop and the team on a daily basis. She leads by example with her sales and feeds back information on the reaction from customers.

I need her because, as the business has grown so has the paperwork. Banks, suppliers, insurance brokers, accountants, utility companies and marketing people all need dealing with and, without the working cogs behind the sales floor, things would grind to a halt. It could be all too easy to become totally wrapped up in the back office and lose sight of the fundamentals of the business - good product, good service and the customer.

It was brilliant to be working at the front end, hands on with customers and taking time to focus on the reason the
shop started in the first place.

Lovely customers who cooed over all the stock, and some more challenging shoppers who took two hours to decide whether they really did like the pair of trousers they had on. This insight helps with the buying.

Years of buying experience helps you understand what shapes, fabrics and colours are commercial as well as exciting, but hearing customers talking about their baggy arms, lumpy thighs and big boobs reinforces the reasons why we buy what we buy.

Time on my feet was time well spent and the long hot bath at the end of it was all the more satisfying.

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