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.”