Interview Contact Name and Job Title: Iain Henderson, Partner of Arran View Jewellery
Website URL: arranview.com
Social Media Links:
Number of outlets: online and independent retailers
Location(s): Scotland / online
Market(s): (eg. Homeware, fashion etc) jewellery and hair accessories
Other relevant info: Great grandparents, grandparents, and parents have all had retail businesses!
Modern Retail talks to Iain Henderson, Partner of Arran View Jewellery. A family run business that has beautiful jewellery and accessories for events, presents or the perfect accompaniment to your outfit – there is something for everyone!
MR: Why should people shop with you?
IH: Because we care!
With 20 years of supplying retailers in Scotland we knew arranview.com could become a go-to place for everyday jewellery box essentials and basic hair accessories online by combining great prices followed up with even better customer service – and as a small family business, we achieve that.
We know that occasionally things can go wrong so if a customer gets in touch I tend to not only fix the problem but give something extra – recently a customer got in touch to explain the horsehair clips she had bought for her daughter had arrived broken. With a 7-year-old daughter myself, I know how she’d have felt so I sent new hair clips along with a horse necklace.
MR: What challenges do you face as a business, and how do you aim to overcome them?
IH: The Main challenge for Arran View Jewellery is the constant change of rules and algorithms Amazon, eBay, and Google create. As well as reacting to these changes (for example, Amazon changed the number of bytes, not characters, allowed for search keywords) I’m trying to create our own customer base by learning all about AdWords, social media campaigns, and search engine optimisation. It’s just as well I enjoy learning new things.
Managing our time is also a challenge – online retail is still emerging and changing so you have to work out when to stop ‘learning’ and start ‘doing’! I’ve just set up our Facebook shop which has allowed us to not only showcase a lot of our product but also to communicate directly with customers who prefer messenger to phone or email. However, it’s not until the sales start to come through that you discover if it was worthwhile.
MR: What do you love about your work/business/brand?
IH: Flexible hours as I’ve got a 7 add 9-year-old who like their after school activities and I’ve never missed a sports day or nativity play! Also, with it being a family business my folks get to be a big part of their lives too – my son is trying to teach us how to create some YouTube help videos.
It gives me the time to volunteer – I set up and run the local Cub Scout pack and help out with the Beaver colony. The skills learnt setting up the website have also been put to good use helping a local sports charity I’m a trustee of set up their website and social media.
The best part of work is that it often doesn’t feel like work – choosing new products and where/how to sell them is a very rewarding challenge and there is no greater reward than when you receive a thank you for the personal service you have been able to provide.
MR: What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
IH: Start with something you love doing and make sure you are fulfilling a genuine need. You might love making cakes and have loads of family and friends telling you they are more than good enough to sell. But as others before have said, it’s all about research – the product, the place to sell, the platform(s) to sell on, your potential customer, projected cash flows. If you do your research you are much more likely to not fail. Maybe there are already a number of established cake makers in your area and you’d be competing in a crowded market where there is no need for another cake maker.
However, once you’ve done your research and created your business plan stop thinking about it and start to action it!