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Economic turbulence creates a bumpy ride

Cautious, confident, worried, carefree - my emotions have been all over the place since the recession hit.

Chatting to a fellow indie recently, we decided that owning a boutique feels like being on a rollercoaster - one minute you’re at the top having a fantastic run, and the next you’re at the bottom wondering if the nerves can stand it. We decided the problem is that running your own business makes everything so personal.

However, I realise that’s not the problem; it’s part of the magic to be so passionate. Now is the time to really focus on what our business is about, embrace being an indie and stand out from the crowd.

Listening to our customers’ needs is more important than ever and we have established a good customer database, ensuring we take care of our loyal customers by, for example, sending discount vouchers as a thank you for their support and to tempt them in to see
new collections.

Advertising remains very important and we are always looking for new and interesting campaigns to excite shoppers. People may be cautious and hesitant to part with hard-earned money, but rarely do I see a woman walk away from a beautiful pair of shoes that have been calling her name. So from now on we will work hard to ensure every item is a ‘must have’.

While talking to a pilot friend recently about my fear of flying, I asked him why, when the weather is terrible, he decides to fly. He said he knows it’s going to be a bumpy ride and not very enjoyable, but that he can make it through.

Rollercoasters, planes - we are all in the same boat at the moment. I just want to make sure that worry and fear do not eclipse my enjoyment of the here and now.

Katie Free is co-owner of womenswear boutique Free Love in St Peter Port, Guernsey

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