Anna at Abode
Posted on July 31 2018
What inspired you to start Abode? And why retail over any other type of business? Did you just want to try something new?
I was in a job which offered no work/life balance and wanted a change. I felt there was a gap in the market for an interiors store locally and wanted a new challenge. I’d always dreamt of having my own business, so decided it was time to take a leap of faith!
How long has Abode been in Cleethorpes? You must have seen a lot of changes on the street over the years!
We are now very proud to be in our 10th year. Sea View Street has improved over this time and has a fantastic mix of businesses who complement one another.
How did you develop the background and skills needed to run your own business?
My working background is mainly in retail management. At 23, I opened Abode with no experience of having my own business but felt I had the drive and vision to make it work. The first couple of years were extremely hard and I learnt as I went, but I’ve always been a hands-on learner so I guess you could say I trained as I went!
What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?
My proudest moment thus far has to be Sea View Street coming second in ‘Great British High Street.’ I was lucky enough to go to London to accept the award and the experience was fantastic. I’m also proud that ten years in, Abode is still going strong and growing year on year. Not many businesses can say that nowadays.
What sets you apart from your competitors? Why go to Abode over anyone else?
I feel Abode offers something unique. I hand-pick all of our products and ensure our customers get excellent quality, value and service. We listen to what our customers want and I’m always looking out for the next key interior trends.
What is it about your business that makes your team happy to work for you? Who are the people behind your brand?
I am lucky to work with a fantastic team. Beth works full-time, Sophia is part time and I work at least two days in the shop as I have a young child. Eli starts school in September so I look forward to being in the shop and seeing our lovely customers more. Without a solid team, a business has a weakness. Our customers are great and make working at Abode a pleasure.
Tell us about a time that you had to overcome a problem along your business journey. An early issue with products or accounts for example, or a dodgy hire. How did you resolve it?
I, like many businesses, struggled with cash flow in the early days. I opened Abode using the sale of a car at the time! That money didn’t last very long! I was a little naive and struggled in my first year but I’m pretty resourceful and sourced some fantastic suppliers. I was able to gain a little credit and muddle my way through, but there was no denying the first 12-18 months were difficult and a time I won’t forget.
If you could sum up the heart of Abode in three words, what would they be?
The heart of Abode lies with our staff, our customers and my family. All 3 have supported Abode and made it the success it is today and I cannot thank them enough.
Where do you want your business to be in five years’ time?
In 5 years, Abode will have a strong online presence with an increased social media following. Our new website is a testament to this. We will have at least one more member of staff also.
If you had to give advice to anyone also thinking of starting their own retail store, what advice would you give them?
Retail is a difficult sector, but if you have an idea of where you can offer something unique and give the customer a new experience, then go for it. I refer to my earlier comment about cash flow as this is where most businesses struggle so ensure this base is covered. My door is always open - if anyone wants advice or to pick my brain then please just ask. I love supporting local businesses and would always help where I could.