We had the pleasure of speaking to business owner and champion for independent retail in Bath, Lucy Simon. Ethics, quality, value and inspiration in retail are the founding principles of her business, together with her style and flair for sourcing, buying and collaborating with interesting suppliers from around the British Isles.
What’s your favourite thing about being an independent retailer?
The creative control, storyteller of quality products and makers, the relationships you make and the conversations you have with customers and suppliers.
When you were a teenager did you have ambitions to be a business owner?
I grew up in Brighton which was a mecca for independent shops and still is. I spent my weekends looking through and experiencing the shopping offer and remember how happy and inspired I felt in that environment, way before I knew anything about the world, so I suppose I look back now and see that the seed was sown early. I have always done my own thing, been unafraid, loved doing loads of research, and have a positive outlook in general, all of which are required when running a business.
If you could learn one new skill to help you improve your business, what would it be?
It would be a political skill; something to do with making all the local council decision-makers talk to each other – the visitor services, property and planning and economic regeneration departments of councils all need to have a shared vision, and yet, they never communicate therefore towns and cities fall apart because of this, making it harder and harder for the high street to thrive.
Are you optimistic or nervous about Brexit and what it means for businesses in Bath?
Long-term optimistic, but short-term pessimistic based on current data. Wider politics have a huge effect on public attitude and therefore spending. At the moment it’s been a dire economic climate for the whole of 2018 across most sectors. I suspect there’ll be an upturn shortly after May 2019 when the world doesn’t stop spinning.
When has a customer surprised you in a positive way and how did they do it?
It’s an almost daily event; recently a regular customer moved house and gave me a beautiful antique cabinet for my shop.
Where can we find out more about Article?
Through my website articlebath.com, and on Instagram @article_bath. Or come to Bath! I am right across from the famous Assembly Rooms.