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Let’s enthusiastically embrace the unknown

Hilary Cookson, Owner of occasionwear specialist Maureen Cookson in Whalley, Lancashire.

Hilary Cookson

Hilary Cookson

Talking Shop is a great title for an article - and it’s a column I look forward to in the magazine (no pressure here then, dear reader).

I recall my mother relishing an earlier version called ‘My Little Shop’ that, if memory serves me, was always written by Libby of the Little Shop [a womenswear store in Cookham, Berkshire].

It’s the reason we talk in showrooms of being a member of Bira (the British Independent Retailers Association); reading trade magazines; and of attending trade fairs.

My sap is rising. It’s spring, the new stock is flooding in and the shop is looking fabulous. The staff feel energised by the new arrivals and the Sale is confined to one room, and still looks good.

I’m back on the road. Feeling ever more like a member of an ageing rock band, I love to perform. Last weekend I was at Pure London at Olympia, where I always get my eye in.

I couldn’t bear to stay at home on the Sunday of a trade fair knowing the rest of the retail world is stealing a march on me. What if that one new nugget of tomorrow happened to be there? What if that bandwagon was driving past without me on it?

It’s tough, we know. OK, the bank isn’t helping, I know that too. The internet is going to rule the world … or is it?

This fading rocker is also looking forward to the Drapers conference on Digital thingummy going forward business [the Drapers Digital Forum on February 25].

I want to sit there with bright young things checking my Twitter feed, my Pinterest pages and my mobile texting of new arrivals.

Age may wither us, but I hope we can look at these new collections from companies we have never heard of with enthusiasm and hope they are going to be the bright spot of the autumn 14 season. However, you won’t know unless you go and look.

If you see me chatting ad nauseum over the next few weeks, propping up bars, seated in restaurants or huddled in corners, come and join in. But promise me you will be optimistic and enjoy the buying time, because only then will you truly choose well.

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