My first year as an indie: Toys n Tech

Fiona Roberts, social media and advertising manager, and Mandy Middleton, business owner reveal why Star Wars products have impacted their store since opening.
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Where is your store based?

We are based in Carlisle, Cumbria. Our shop is located at 21 Bank Street.

How long has your store been open for?

We opened our doors on Saturday June 13th 2015, but the time has just flown by.

Why did you choose to open the store?

Carlisle didn’t have much choice in the way of children’s toy shops, and over the Christmas period it relied on pop-up shops. As we all have experience in retail, we understood the need to offer locals a variety of toys and gadgets at good prices.

We also decided to work on the principle that we always offer the best price on our products – rather than introducing various sales throughout the year.

How has business been since opening?

Business has been really good. We’ve definitely been kept ticking over with sales and we’ve established a loyal group of regular customers too, which is lovely to see.

We’ve got a lot of followers on our social media account and this has meant we’ve seen an increase in customers visiting us from further afield.

What industry trends have affected you since the opening of your store?

Since opening we’ve seen a lot of interest in Star Wars products due to the excitement of the new film’s release last year. We had another big Star Wars order due in December 2015 to help meet that demand.

Marvel and DC products have been very popular and we have a collector’s range of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings products, which have been selling well.

What are your expectations for the store?

We have signed a lease for five years, so based on the interest and support we have had so far we expect to go from strength to strength.

What advice would you give other indie retailers who are just starting out?

We would say take your time with the planning, budget well, and know your target audience. Above all, we would say be brave and just go for it. You never know what will happen if you don’t try.


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