Interview Contact Name and Job Title: Megan Ford, owner and founder of Meggie’s
Webite URL: www.shopmeggies.co.uk
Number of Outlets : 1
Location: Stow-On-The-Wold, Gloucestershire
Market(s): Gifts, Cards, Lifestyle
Other Relevant Info: Stocking all Indie British Makers
Modern Retail talks to Megan Ford owner of Meggie’s a beautiful shop filled with gift ideas, cards, home interiors, accessories, jewellery and lots more. A mix of design-led gift ideas you won’t see on the high street, making Meggie’s totally unique.
MR: How do you aim to stand out as a brand?
MF: I hope I stand out for having a non-Cotswoldy shop in The Cotswolds! I want it to be a bit cooler then most peoples perceptions of a traditional, Cotswold gift shop. I only stock independent British makers and designers at Meggie’s so I aim to find unique items with a fun element.
MR: How would you sum up your target customer?
MF: A little varied actually as I seem to have a good mix of very loyal regulars, tourists visiting The Cotswolds and then my online following too. The shop is filled with all the things I love and would want to buy so I guess I am my target customer; female 20+ who appreciates the unique, the handmade, good customer service and a funny card!
MR: Why should people shop with you?
MF: It’s SO important to support small, indie shops! Everything I stock is designed or made my another indie business so not only are you supporting me by shopping at Meggie’s, you’re supporting a chain of small businesses. Plus it’s a much nicer shopping experience!
MR: What do you want to do differently to your competitors?
MF: I want to offer something a little different to what you see in chain shops on the high street. Something with a story, to offer great customer service and to build positive relationships with suppliers and customers. The creative workshops I host here in the evenings I think help me stand out from my competitors whilst bringing new customers through the door and building a community.
MR: What challenges do you face as a business, and how do you aim to overcome them?
MF: Being original. The only downside to social media sometimes, I think we sometimes end up giving away all our tips and tricks too easily. But having said that, I use social media to find new, exciting products so it’s something I try to not get hung up on. Being true to myself and what I’m doing should always make me original.
MR: How do you use technology/media/eCommerce to improve your offering?
MF: I use social media a lot to promote Meggie’s ! I love Instagram and have built a good following. Most days someone will pop into the shop and say “I follow your on Instagram!” so that makes it worth my time and effort. I also sell via my own website which I built myself so have to update it daily. I also sell through Trouva which is an online community of UK Independent shops all on one platform.
MR: What do you love about your work/business/brand?
MF: I love discovering exciting new products. I love meeting and chatting with customers in the shop and suppliers at trade shows, working in a creative space and being my own boss.
MR: What advantages/disadvantages does your location bring?
MF: Stow-On-The-Wold is a busy Cotswold destination and lots of people are moving from London to the area but currently there is a few empty shops and the rent and rate are high so they can be hard to fill. But when it’s good, is a great place to be! There is such a buzz here during busy seasons. I really love my shop front and the quirks of the building I’m in, it’s full of character and charm.
MR: What are your growth aims for the next 12 months?
MF: I would really like to focus and grow my website this year, the more I do online the less pressure there is on quieter days in Stow. I have also doubled the workshops I offer in 2018 as they’re proving more and more popular.
MR: What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
MF: Stay true to your own style and not be swayed by products that don’t feel right for you. If they don’t fit, they won’t sell. Don’t be shy on social media, it’s such a powerful tool so make sure you shout out about yourself!