MAKE's been trading on Gloucester Road in Bristol for eight years. We're just one of a diverse and eclectic selection of independently run shops (reputedly the largest number on one street in the UK). And as you might expect of such a lively retail environment, we are not the only purveyors of fashion here. There are lots of vintage clothing shops and boutiques - two more have opened just this year - making Gloucester Road a vibrant shopping destination for Bristol residents and visitors.
Which gives MAKE a bit of a challenge. From being the sole boutique on the street to just one of some fantastic clothes shops, we have to adapt to survive. How? Well, our website which launched last year and our presence on social media certainly form part of that survival strategy. We can now reach out and communicate better than ever before with our customers, as well as drumming up business that would have been inconceivable a few years ago. But ultimately I'm finding it's a return to core values - both ours as a business and those of our customers - that's ensuring our place as an established Gloucester Road stalwart.
All our stock decisions are made with our customers in mind (of course!) and we serve a mixed bunch: schoolgirls, students, mums, ladies in their prime, but actually I find them pretty consistent in terms of taste and values. Like most Bristolians our customers are a laid-back bunch, friendly, relaxed and easy-going. They're not slaves to any trend and like standing out from the crowd in clothes that don't look like they're from the High Street. They love originality, and something a bit different.
So with all that in mind, here's what I think we do best!
Now this might mean coming away with a fabulous dress that you can't imagine finding anywhere else, or having a relaxing 5 minute browse after work, or receiving a parcel from us sooner than you expected, or enjoying a nice piece of music playing in the shop, or bagging a great sale bargain, or having a good chinwag with the person behind the till, or getting advice on matching accessories to an outfit, or having a laugh at what I'm wearing that day - I could go on. I just know that making visitors to our shop and website happy is something we strive to achieve every day.