Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley is managing director of her own hand crafted vintage clothes brand. She said that the summer school gave her the opportunity to step back from her day-to day role and push her team, and the business forward. 

“I applied for a scholarship when I received an email from bira. I wanted to learn about retail as everything I know is self taught from my own experience and I wanted to meet other like-minded people. 

It exceeded all of my expectations. The thing I liked most was the intensity of the course - it pushed me hard to learn under pressure. I also liked the guest speakers. “I learnt lots about retail and also about how much I already knew, and what I did not. It also taught me to lean on other people within my team and the business. 

As a result of the summer school I now have an advisor, who is someone I met through contacts on the course. They are helping me grow my business. I now also sell to department stores thanks to what I learnt on the course. 

I feel like I am a better manager. I am more in tune and empathic to the rest of my team. I motivate them to achieve positive results, which means we are now producing better collections and selling more. 

I would recommend that other independent retailers go on the course. It removes you from the everyday workplace and is very concentrated in the teaching process. I did wonder if I could be away from my office for that week without being missed, but it taught me to build a better team, delegate, and work on the bigger picture.”

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