“I’ve been with Harvey Nichols for over four and a half years. I started out at good old Woolworths which was a great grounding in the fundamentals of retail. I found myself as deputy store manager of Selfridges when they opened in Birmingham and subsequently spent time as Stores Director for the Conran Shop, Head of Retail for Furniture and Sound and Vision at Harrods followed by a brief spell as multi-site manager at House of Fraser before joining Harvey Nichols Birmingham.”
“I am so proud to be the GM of my store and consider myself to be so fortunate to work with such an incredible team in an amazing environment at such an exciting time for the business.”
It is now two years since we opened our fabulous Birmingham store. How is it going?
It’s going really well! The store’s performance has been really strong and we are welcoming some great new brands for AW17 including the long awaited Stone Island.
What have been the highlights?
The highlights are always experiencing visitors reactions to the store and how well customers reacted to the new space.
What have been the greatest challenges?
That would be helping the team and customers embrace a new service vision which is that of a large boutique. We had to work hard to define and deliver the new customer journey with a new till system and a bit of a shaky Wi-Fi network however, with a lot of work, perseverance and the support of the whole TI team we got there!
What was your fondest moment of opening the new store?
There are two very different memories I would like to share:
The first is the evening before the store opened. We invited four VIP couples to join some of the Private Shopping Team and myself in our Private Dining Room for an amazing dinner. Guests were collected from their homes in chauffer driven Rolls Royce, and greeted by bespoke cocktails created based on their individual tastes. We enjoyed a fabulous menu designed by Head Chef Mark Walsh, with wines matched by our Wine Specialist Siofra. I was then able to give our guests a sneak peek and a private tour of the new store, and they even got to do some shopping before the store had officially opened. Guests left with a monogrammed card holder as a gift, and a really great memory.
The second memory is when a very senior member of the head office team welled up with tears of pride when they visited the store for the first time.
What is your favourite moment over the last couple of years?
There are so many to choose from but a few would be when we turned the Bar and Restaurant into a nightclub for the VIP launch party, When brands like Stone Island and Manolo Blahnik choose to come to HN Birmingham because they want to be in the best store in the city, and seeing the success and growth of so many team members in the new space.
Tell us how the store has evolved since opening?
We have been very active in trading the store and creating compelling trading areas in key positions.
We continue to refine the hospitality offer in response to both what our customers want and significant new and existing competition in the city whilst maintaining a reputation for amazing quality and service. One of our great successes is the monthly wine dinners which showcase the best of our wine offer with fine dining dishes that our customers love and are always a sell-out.
What do customers like best about the store?
Our customers love that they can spend all day in the store. On Saturdays we regularly have VIP clients spend several hours in store with us. They may start by visiting Private Shopping to try on the latest Balmain jacket that they have been lusting over, and chatting with friends over a glass of Champagne, before heading to Beauty for a blow dry with James Bushell Hair and a makeover with Hourglass. They might grab a drink and snack in the bar or get their nails and eyebrows done. Some customers even leave the clothes they came in, and their cars in the car park, and get changed for their night out right here, before sitting down to enjoy dinner with their family in the Restaurant and a few drinks in the Bar.
Is there anything you’d like to change?
Yes but on the whole that is in response to the success of particular areas, I’d love to expand women’s shoes, continue to trade further forward into the entrance of the store and continue to develop the hospitality offer as we have so much opportunity to delight our diverse range of customers!
Do you / the store celebrate the anniversary of opening in any way?
Yes, for our first birthday we had a celebration party in the Restaurant for all of the staff, we even had a birthday cake and sang happy birthday! This year we are planning a Summer Fete in the Restaurant for all of the staff, think candy floss, popcorn, slush puppies, limbo and more. We will be raising funds for Mind through ticket sales and raffles on the evening.
Where does your heart lie - if you had to choose one which would you choose – fashion, food or beauty?
My stomach would suggest I’d choose food (My summer body isn’t going that well), My brows would say beauty (who can’t do without a good brow shaping on Shavata) and my bank balance would say fashion (I’ve spoilt myself with some Gucci trainers, Some Louboutin Louis Juniors and some Balenciaga runners that I couldn’t resist in the last few weeks) But really it’s like choosing a favourite child, impossible! I love the variety and working with the team to grow all of the areas of the business.