Drum roll please for Hana Glover... The Retail Coach and Owner of The Bead Shop, Nottingham. I met Hana at a Smart City Discussion Forum in Nottingham in 2019 where we discussed everything from location techolgy to the city roof bees project. I instantly fell in love with Hana's enterprise, just by listening to what a creative, bustling hub of activity The Bead Shop is. Nobody can argue that the Bead Shop aren't embracing technology.
Here is our Career Conversation:
Jenny : It is more than a place to buy beads for crafting isn't it, tell us all about it?
Hana: It really is! We sell a huge range of beading & jewellery making components, craft materials and handmade jewellery but for me the main bit is the relationship we have with our customers. I think my favourite part is when customers bring in (or email pictures of) the projects they’ve been working on to show us. Though I also love teaching people new techniques and fixing old broken jewellery for people (theres often a fascinating story to go with it).
Jenny: I have not stepped foot in your shop but I feel like I know The Bead Shop from Instagram, I recognise your team and your range. I love your crafting videos! How much of your trade comes from online? Hana: Ah thank you. We try to give people a taste of our shop & workshops even if they can’t make it here in real life. Normally our trade is split fairly evenly between the shop & workshops and online. Jenny: Before the IoT location, location, location was so important. Have you been on the same site for 20 years? Who have you seen come and go? Hana: We started in a tiny shop inside an arcade in Nottingham (only a street away from where we are now), we out grew that in a year so moved to a bigger unit across the road for 5 years, then settled where we are now 14 years ago. When we first opened in our current location of Market Street we shared the road with Select-a-Disc a fantastic independent music shop - I still miss them now! Jenny: You have seen some changes in the shopping space. Cyberspace being the biggest shake up. What has that meant for you over time? Hana: When we first started selling online in 2002 we were one of the first bead shops to do so. It was a steep but fairly easy learning curve. Since then the rate of change seems to have sped up and as soon as we’ve got our website to run the way we want and have all the custom features we’d like it’s time for another upgrade! Jenny: What does that mean for the change in shop keeping skills over time? Hana: I think this has changed a lot over the last year or two and the personal service and individual attention you get in indie shops is becoming recognised and valued more. It does mean you have to multi task more and often juggle online work with shop work during quieter periods. Jenny: You are very close to your suppliers and supply chain, can you be sure there is no modern slavery in your supply chain? Hana: We source our beads from suppliers & manufacturers we trust (and where possible ones we’ve visited personally). Some of our supplies do cost a bit more than our competitors but we think it’s worth it to source ethical products from mainly E.U suppliers. Jenny: You work 7 days a week so I guess you are a workaholic as well as a shopaholic. What is the best part of running a shop? ... and the worst? Hana: Yeah I definitely work more than I should! I normally work 5/6 days a week & try to have as much of the school holidays off as I can. However this year has been more intense and I often average over 70 hours a week! The best bit of running a shop is definitely the lovely customers and how no two days are the same. The worst is how easy it is to work too much! Jenny: You are CEO, Head of HR, Head of Marketing, Head of Finance and Head of IT. where do you go for the support you need? Hana: I’ve found some fantastic networking groups full of incredibly supportive and knowledgeable women. I can’t wait until Covid is over and I can see them all again in real life. During this year i’ve reconnected with an old school friend (over a joint love of music) who has been incredibly supportive and kept me going even when things have felt overwhelming. Jenny: No contingency planning could prepare us for a Lockdown. With the hindsight of Lockdown 1 what can you tell us about how you managed. What helped and what didn't? Hana: As soon as I got over the initial panic (which really knocked me for six) we got together as a team and came up with a plan. We introduced a weekly online zoom social for our customers, virtual workshops & a click and collect service. We then worked flat out at launching new kits and a weekly newsletter so we could stay connected to our customers. I think the thing that helped me the most personally was having weekly treats planned in; we had family movie nights, board game afternoons and I met up weekly with my friend for a virtual pub quiz (& then bike rides when restrictions allowed). Jenny: If you were starting a shop in 2019, (lets pretend 2020 is a bad dream) would you still have a physical presence? Hana: Yes definitely! Otherwise I’d just be selling things which I wouldn’t really enjoy, the bead shop is more about a love of sharing the joy of making things & helping people. Jenny: How did you make your name as the Retail Coach? Hana: I kind of fell into business mentoring, more and more people were asking for my help and advice about being a shopkeeper. This was at the same time The Bead Shop was running a kickstarter to rescue our workshop room after a dodgy builder left us in the lurch! So it seemed to be a good reward to offer, my time & knowledge in return for funds towards renovating our teaching space. Since then I’ve worked with lots of shops in Nottingham as well as further afield, Nottingham Trent University and Gedling Borough Council, I absolutely love mentoring and watching my clients businesses grow. Jenny: We are entering peak trading period, Christmas can make or break a trading business. Are you ready to weather this storm? Hana: We're hoping that the next month will be really good for us & that lots of consumers will be making the switch to shopping small. Jenny: I really enjoyed your #myshoplife20 please can we feature it here for all the non Instagram community to enjoy? Hana: Yes of course! Jenny: The mainstream news is rife with Black Friday and online reviews needing caution as we seek Retail Therapy. What would you say to everyone exploring how to be a more conscious and responsible consumer this year? Hana: I’d like everyone to think about how where they shop can make a difference. Shopping with independent businesses keeps more money in the local economy, generates proportionally more tax and makes shopkeepers smile and dance! You really can make a difference to indie businesses and the lives of everyone they employ. Not to mention keeping the high street vibrant and welcoming.
Jenny: What was your very first beading experience and do you have a special bead?
Hana: I first got into beading when I was about 12 and my Aunt bought me a selection of beads, I’ve wanted to be a shopkeeper for much longer though (from a love of watching Mr Benn & Bagpuss along with a great Aunt that owned a haberdashery shop). My favourite beads are lampwork glass beads (particularly star shaped ones), I love all the colours, shapes & finishes along with the skill involved in making them.
If you are looking for something special to gift this year, please do check out The Bead Shop: www.mailorder-beads.co.uk