“My friend suggested Behind The Red Door” Di, NCN Head of Early Learning. I love it, love the thinking, it’s like a one stop shop for presents and gifts”

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Mica, Manager, in her twenties, gran Jamaican, dad from Scotland explains her delight in finding a role where she can really get to know her customers.

” Karen, (owner) has a gift for sourcing really beautiful things at affordable prices, has a real understanding of passing that feeling on to her customers”. Speaking to Di, I concur. I really feel that she’ll be back again and again.

Mica has previously worked for the Nottinghamshire Hospice. Knowing the  meticulous work that the shop managers do (my sister is a manager of the shop in in Radcliffe on Trent) and having been a charity shop manager for Oxfam myself, I know that retailing now has much more insight into what good service and knowing your customers means.

“You’ve got to get the balance between using the technology and serving the customers well” says Karen.

I mention my idea that all little independent shops should be a dynamic and responsive window backed up with the efficiency that the internet can bring (I’m thinking of my fantasy of businesses having beautiful windows, a real identity when you walk in, yet great technology, each business their own individual version of John Lewis). Karen is cautious “You can lose so much energy if you become too focussed on the internet and technology. We’re developing an online offer but we don’t want to lose sight of our own ‘Je ne sais crois'”.

And I think I know what she means, it’s an awareness of people, the interrelationships between businesses in the area (for example, we wouldn’t stock that because Debbie Bryan does that. It is a kind of grown up, hopeful and balanced view of shopping that left me feeling intrigued and cheerful.