When Hari Martin decided to open her boutique – Basil & Bea – it was a lifelong dream come true. Since her earliest memories of watching her sister’s godmother run a successful shop in Norwich, the 27-year-old has been a lover of style and expresses a desire to make women feel confident and happy in the clothes she sells.
Based in Hale, Altrincham, Hari is an example of a woman who has paid attention to the hard-work and discipline required to realise a life’s vision. She has spent most of her years, planning, budgeting and saving to prepare for any opportunity that would eventually lead her to open her first store.
She shows an understanding and appreciation of the experience, education and work ethic, she needed in place before deciding to quit her job in retail and embark on this business venture. In our quick Q&A, Hari shares her thought process when buying pieces to sell in the store, why she preferred to open a physical store first rather than launching online, and her advice to anyone hoping to open their first fashion store.
What is your background and what inspired you to open a store?
“I am from Norfolk, so am a bit of a country bumpkin. I grew up in a remote countryside and always had a love for style. My sister’s godmother had a store in Norwich and it as something that I really aspired to do. I knew that I wanted to have my own shop, so when I was applying to go to university I wanted to do something in fashion. My mum was really keen to incorporate the business side of things and the ‘fashion buying course’ at MMU was kind of perfect.”
What was your industry experience before opening Basil & Bea?
“I had my experience with Northern Lights Agency, which was invaluable. Especially working on the wholesale side of things. I sold to independent retailers in the UK and corporate companies like Asos. Obviously, Basil & Bea isn’t on the same scale as Asos. But the experience allowed me to understand how things worked, sort of first hand, rather than academically. From the university course to working in the industry on the wholesale side, I felt kind of prepared and ready to do it on my own.”
How did you prepare for the business before quitting your job?
“This opportunity [opening the shop] arose and I planned it before I handed in my notice because it was important for me to be sure about what I was doing. It was also important for my family to know that I was not just su*king off my job to be like a bum. So I set up my site, organised how things were going to work, where it [the shop] was gonna be, the brands….got the fillers out and then handed in my notice. It was a really amicable end to my employment relationship and in my head, I felt ready. But if I was 22 and had just graduated, there was no way that I would be ready to start this little venture.”
Please note: this article was edited and updated on 22nd December 2017. To get an extended exclusive video on Hari’s #lifelessons and how to overcome challenges during your business journey, please subscribe here & we will send it to your email.
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