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Cut out the scissors to focus on strategy

We’re in the process of opening a second shop, not a branch in another city, but just another site around the corner from the existing one.

Our furniture department has outgrown its basement home and is moving over the road. Our menswear, which was straining at the seams, is now taking over the basement. It seemed like a relatively straightforward plan six months ago but the move has raised issues about managing a business as it grows.

I have always tried to be involved in the practical aspects of running a shop. I want to know as many of our customers as possible, so I like to spend a lot of time on the shop floor. I want to be responsible for the buying in every department so I spend a lot of time in London and some time in Europe. I want the shop to look good so I try and spend time on visual merchandising, and more time on hoovering and dusting.

I can’t bear to lose margins paying for alterations so I have made myself handy with the sewing machine and spend time hiding upstairs with my scissors and pins.
But there are only so many retail hours in a day and I am neglecting the strategic side of the business in my quest to be the face of The Hambledon. In the process I am also
undervaluing the exceptional and lovely people who I work with if I fail to delegate workproductively.

I felt chastised when I was told by accountant last week that I am not taking full ownership of our figures and I feel that a resolution to spend more time on the strategy and less time on the hems could make The Hambledon a more professional outfit.

Victoria Suffield is owner of lifestyle retailer
The Hambledon in Winchester, Hampshire

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