Taking place on Friday 8th March, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. So, in celebration of this awareness day, we’ve asked inspirational women from our very own retailers in Mell Square, to share their experience and top tips for success.
Kate – store manager at Liv’s
Emma – store manager at Boots
Shivani – Restaurateur of Tap & Tandoor
Jayne – owner of Le Scarpe
Natalie – store manager at The White Company
What’s your role in Mell Square?
Kate: “My role as store manager at Liv’s includes everything from styling and visual merchandising, staffing and recruitment, training and of course customer service. As I’m lucky enough to manage an independent store, my role is incredibly varied and includes buying trips to Paris and even delivering furniture to customers’ homes.”
Emma: “I am the store manager for Boots in Solihull Mell Square responsible for 80 members of staff. My role is to lead my team to deliver a great experience for both patients and customers that visit the store, ensuring that the staff turn up and behave to the true beliefs of the business.”
Shivani: “With this year’s International Women’s Day theme being #BalanceforBetter, I have to say my role as restaurateur of Tap & Tandoor and Zindiya in Moseley is a combined effort with my husband. I look after marketing and branding for both restaurants which entails menu development, planning events, creating awareness through press and social media content.”
Jayne: “My role is to allow shoppers, old and new, to access fabulous shoes and accessories with a point of difference to the high street, whilst ensuring the highest level of customer service.”
Natalie: “The fantastic thing about my role is the variety it allows, encompassing everything from ensuring we deliver service which puts our customer at the heart, to Learning and Development, translating commercial reports into actions and working on store layout and presentation with my visual specialist. Each day is different and brings new challenges and opportunities.”
What’s been your biggest achievement?
Kate: “I came to Liv’s initially as a supervisor from a visual merchandising background in a high street department store. Over the last five years I have shown loyalty to the company, flourished within the role, and alongside directors, Liv and Michael, I have taken the business in new directions.”
Emma: “My biggest achievement has been juggling being both a leader for my store and a mum to my two children, Seren aged six and Caleb aged three.”
Shivani: “Opening our first restaurant was a dream come true! And the second felt like an even bigger achievement with a five-month-old baby – definitely a balancing act. I’m so passionate about the restaurants and brands that we’ve created, and very pedantic in nature, so I look at all the finer details to ensure our concept is being delivered and we exceed our guests’ expectations. Winning ‘Best Independent in Solihull’ in our first six months was definitely the cherry on the cake.”
Jayne: “My biggest achievement to date is celebrating 30 years in the business!”
Natalie: “Building and developing a team who are incredibly passionate about our brand, the product and the service we deliver would have to be my biggest achievement. They really do encompass our One Team ethos & I am incredibly proud of them.”
What are your top tips for being a manager/running your own business?
Kate: “I think it is imperative to nurture your staff and get to know them as people. Forging friendships is the best way to ensure a happy workplace and a loyal team. I also think it is important to involve the team in as many different aspects of the business as possible to ensure every day is varied and interesting.”
Emma: “To be open and honest with your people. I like to lead from the front and I’m not afraid to roll my sleeves up and work with them. After all I began as a Christmas temp back in 2007 in the Worcester Boots Store.”
Shivani: “Carry out every job in your business yourself so you understand the practicalities of each role. Gender imbalance is definitely an issue in the restaurant world, especially in the kitchen – I carried out every role from kitchen porter to chef and remember chefs making comments about how women only know how to cook at home and that they can’t handle a professional kitchen. I’m so glad to see more and more women in this industry getting the respect they deserve.”
Jayne: “Lead by example, excellent communication, set realistic goals, create a fun working atmosphere and reward where applicable.”
Natalie: “My top tip for being a manager or leader would be to recognise that a team is made up of individuals, and a “one size fits all” approach won’t cut it. Recognising what motivates and drives your team, as well as being adaptable with your management style brings huge rewards.”
What three words would you use to describe women in business?
Kate: “Nurturing, resilient and creative.”
Emma: “Empowering, inspiring and determined.”
Shivani: “Women empower women!”
Jayne: “Inspirational, focused and passionate.”
Natalie: “Dynamic, adaptable and progressive.”