From £10K turnover to £25K in 32 weeks – Find out how stall holder Les dressed for success at Sheffield’s Moor Market
15 September 2016
Pizazz Occasionwear is proof that Sheffield’s Moor Market gives new businesses a great start. It is just one of the traders going from strength to strength after taking advantage of free personalised advice on tap from Business Sheffield.
Owner Les Day had been made redundant when he decided that setting up his own business could be the best way forwards.
“I like to dress to impress, but I could never find the colourful suits and double-collar shirts I like in high street shops. I thought that there must be other people out there who like the clothes that I do and can’t find them easily, and that’s what sparked the idea in my head to start my own business selling occasion-wear”.
With no previous business experience, Les set about opening his first stall. He chose the Moor Market, a busy indoor city centre market with over 90 independent stalls inside selling a huge range of food and non-food goods, from artisan breads and fresh seafood to haberdashery and crafts. The high weekly footfall and busy events schedule provides a bustling market atmosphere and so Les decided it was the perfect place to get his retail business off the ground.
Starting out on the stall last year was tougher than he imagined. His buying power with suppliers was weak, and he didn’t have enough money to buy the variety of stock he wanted to offer customers. He says, “I wanted my stall to be full of colour and vibrant, but cash-flow meant I couldn’t stock everything I wanted. I was a bit stuck, wasn’t sure how to define my business and wasn’t quite sure what to do. Then the Moor Market team linked me up with Business Sheffield.” Business Sheffield sits within Creative Sheffield, the economic development arm of Sheffield City Council. Through a team of start-up and growth advisors, Business Sheffield supports businesses to set up, expand and create jobs.
Les adds, “It was great – my business advisor came to see me on my stall. He gave me loads of advice and ideas which I started to put into action. He told me I couldn’t be everything to everyone – and that I needed to define my business better by stocking clothes and products that couldn’t be found on the high street, to really focus on the more elaborate occasion wear. I took it all on board, and over the next few months I changed suppliers, went to free workshops, improved my website and started to use social media more. Then I looked into expanding my stall. ”
With free help and advice about branding, stock rotation, business rates, marketing and stall layout, Les increased turnover from £10,000 in the first 16 weeks of trading to over £25,000 by week 32. Now with two stalls stocking beautiful one-off pieces for both ladies and men, Les has added shoes, bags, accessories to his initial stock lines of men’s suits and ladies dresses. His customer base has grown significantly, his buying power is stronger with suppliers and he’s really enjoying his new business.
Cllr Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Les’s story is a great example of how small businesses can really thrive in the Moor Market, and shows how we are supporting the growth of independent businesses in Sheffield. There’s a real diverse range of traders in the market already, but we are always looking for new traders to come and join us and set up, or expand, their businesses”.
Les adds, “All the free help and advice I’ve had from Business Sheffield, and the support from the Moor Market, has been incredible. I was asked to put on a fashion show for the North Notts Business Women of the Year Award, and being part of that event all came from a tweet that I put out with help from my business advisor. Some of the other traders here offered to help me by being my models, so my first ever fashion show with 45 outfits on the catwalk took place. It was such a great night – I was just beaming with pride – and they’ve already asked me back to do it all again for the 2017 awards.”
Head of Business Sheffield at Sheffield City Council, Kevin Bennett said: “We’ve supported over 600 businesses to start-up in Sheffield and work closely with people like Les who want to grow their turnover and improve their business model.”
If you’re thinking of starting up your own business, consider Sheffield Markets. With lots of trading options, and free support from Business Sheffield, we’ll help you make your business a success.
Find out more about Pizazz Occasionwear at www.pizazzoccasionwear.co.uk
If you would like to learn more about the advice and support available in Sheffield for creative start-ups and other services Business Sheffield can provide, please contact a member of the Business Gateway team on 0114 224 5000