Tony puts his fashion stamp on business
Tony puts his fashion stamp on business Shopping ranks as one of the most popular pastimes for thousands of people in Northern Ireland. Capitalising on this, Tony Grew is fashioning his own success in the retail trade after opening two new outlets in Cookstown and Omagh.
Thanks to the support provided by Invest Northern Ireland’s Go for it programme, business is brisk at Tony’s ‘Nineteen83’ stores in these mid-Ulster towns and he is confident about the future.
“The retail trade is tough, but I’m winning”, said Tony, who decided to target both male and female shoppers with his ‘Going Out’ range of styles.
“It’s really important to specialise, to target your market properly and to service it well,” said Tony. “Too many stores try to please everybody and not many can do it well. I think it’s better to excel in one area and win over your customers that way. Word of mouth is important and recommendations from other customers are vital.”
Although Tony’s fashion sense has always helped steer him in the right direction when spotting new trends and buying stock, he admits that he knew little about some key aspects of running a business. “Getting myself on Invest NI’s Go for it programme was a crucial step for me,” said Tony. “It really focused my attention. It showed me exactly what needed to be done and how to go about it. I knew plenty about the fashion business but I really needed to know more about running one.”
Setting realistic budgets, paying tax and basic accounting were all core learning modules for Tony, who now keeps a tight control of his finances. “I make sure to give these areas the attention they deserve. Once I know they’re sorted, I can confidently get on with everything else.”
The Go for it programme also helped Tony deal with the sometimes unpredictable nature of cash flow. “You need to pay bills and you need to pay your rent – but you don’t always know how much you’re going to sell each week. It was really useful to get some insights on this.” The work is hard sometimes, said Tony, but he has no regrets. “The hours can be long but I have so much more freedom now. I couldn’t go back and work for someone else again. It’s opened my eyes and I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labour.”
The Go for it Programme is provided by Invest Northern Ireland and is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
For further information on the Go For It Programme contact Roseleen on 028 82 249494 or via email ar firstname.lastname@example.org.