Paul Scouller is a fashionable guy. And not only because he dresses really well. Also because he owns and manages a small fashionable boutique on the main street of New Plymouth, smaller city in the North Island of New Zealand. His boutique Kudos stocks interesting and very trendy mix of fashion brands from New Zealand and Australia as well as other known brands and has been a long time favorite place for the locals to shop at, myself including.
So how did he manage to keep afloat and save this beloved little shop from closing its doors for good?
Many companies are cutting back, not hiring, doing all sorts of cost cutting procedures to avoid closing their doors forever. Paul explained to us how he got Kudos through such tough economic times.
The first thing was ‘Retrenchment’, I pulled back on staffing and did most of the week by myself, then brought staff on later in the week to cover the busier days, but those staff members had to be equally skilled in the knowledge of product and service levels I excepted from day one. That was everyone who walked through my door was treated with friendly greeting and great knowledgeable of products & service.”
Of course this was not the only thing Paul did. He had to make sure his shop was well stocked with high quality items. This was one large precaution to not losing customers. Paul adds: ”I did pull back on our ordering mix introducing more affordable clothing items, but retained the high end brands.”
There was also yet another trick up Paul’s sleeve. Spoiling customers. He offered his loyal customers regular discounts and worked really hard on acquiring new ones, with a high level of friendly customers service of course. Paul sums up that “hard work, long hours, and determination was also a key factor to beat the recession.”
Despite the fact that Paul is a very busy man he has managed to keep his business going. But if he could have an ideal day, it would look like this.
In an ideal and perfect world Paul’s day would be getting up at 8.00 AM for a lovely, leisurely breakfast with his wife and kids. Get the kids ready for school, and then hit the beach for a spot of stand up paddle boarding or surfing before work.
Getting to work by 11.00 AM and slowly get into the working spirit by taking his time to make sure each and every customer really get what they want and a little extra. His day would follow up by checking out new fashion clothing ranges for the upcoming seasons and motivating and educating his staff about the products.
In Paul’s own words on what he enjoys most: “serving customers and be able to spend quality time with them offering fashion advice.”
Wrapping up the day around ideally 3.30 PM he’d go to pick up his kids from school and hitting the beach again with them to play games until dinner time at 5.00 PM.
After dinner comes in the all important relaxation with the family, talking about the day and helping the kids with homework, laughing, and having a great time until the kids bedtime.
By 10.00 PM the kids are tucked in bed and Paul’s awesome day comes to a close.
No sleeping is possible. The alarm clock goes off at an ungodly 6.30 AM and since Paul’s trying to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle is off for his early morning workout, usually an outdoor run.
An hour later it’s back home to shower, breakfast and drive to work. By this time his kids have gone to school, so no time catching up with them. At 8.30 AM he stops for a quick 30 mins coffee energy stop and catch up with friends. It’s a nice little ritual Paul likes to stick to each morning.
Cleaning the store, do the banking procedures from the previous day, open the store, stock reordering, pricing up the stock and entering stock levels into the system, check the inbox are just a few examples of the daily tasks Paul starts his working day with.
The rest of the day is taken up with dealing with customers trying to offer them the best customer service possible, wholesale requests, window display changes to keep customers and potential customers interest. There are also social media to update and answer any customer messages.
The shop closes at 5.30 PM but that doesn’t mean it’s home time for Paul yet. There are still any last minute fixes, late emails to do.
By 6.00 PM Paul is free to drive back home to spend some time with his kids.
At 8.00 PM is the time to finally, no not relax but to do the accounts and debtors and have a look through new look books for the next season clothing. Still no stopping, Paul continues with updating the store social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as fashion blogs.
Finally it’s 10.30 PM and bedtime to do it all over again the next day, starting at 6.00 AM.