Advice to women starting out in the KBB industry

Kbbreview asked top female KBB retailers for their advice for any woman getting started in the KBB industry.

Hayley Robson, creative director, Day True in London

I have always believed if you work hard doing something you love, then the success and re-ward should follow. I was ambitious, so when I got to a point where I felt there was no fur-ther progression, that seemed like the right time to start my own business. My advice would be to gain experience within a company, build up contacts and a reputation.

Helena Myers, co-founder, The Myers Touch in Winchester

As a business owner, go for your dream. Listen to your heart. Never stop looking for ways to grow. Stop and enjoy your achievements once in a while. Model for others how you would like others to respond to you. Be kind to your-self. As a designer, believe in yourself and your own creativity. Never stop learning. Take inspiration from all around you. Stop and catch the moments others fail to see. Be a better listener than talker. Ask for feedback and learn from it. Let failure help to take you higher.

Kate Holderness, kbbreview100 member and director, Urban Kitchens in Preston

I would encourage any female to join our industry. It’s fast, it’s exciting, it’s fashion-based, it’s full of oppor-tunities and it moves with the times. One thing I have learnt from the current situation is that customers have had to become flexible. This, in turn, has helped us. Women can juggle home-schooling and home life around appointments on Zoom. They can make the appointments in the showroom and work from home on the paperwork side in their own time to make up the hours.

It’s not a nine-to-five job any more, now we have virtual tours on websites, click-and-collect sample ser-vices, home visits, etc. This has taken the showroom into the comfort of everyone’s homes, easing the pressure and making the day easier to manage. This can only be a good thing for females.

Victoria Anderson, kbbreview100 member and category manager at Elliotts Living Spaces in Lymington

To be successful in business, it is important to always want to learn. That is the only way you will become a better manager/ business owner and therefore increase your successes. Always look for how you can improve, what you can do differently. And think about how the people you work with feel and lead by example. It is not just about you; to have a successful business, you need a successful team.

Don’t hold back either. If you want to apply for a senior management role – do it. If you are good at what you do, then there is no reason why you would not be considered for the role.

Martina Landhed, kbbreview100 member and design director at InStil Design in Oxfordshire

Be passionate about what you do, love your customers and business, strive for perfec-tion, be determined, and always look for solutions and never stop learning. Put sys-tems and processes in place at the start. You should not be afraid of not knowing something, or for asking for advice and help.

Elizabeth Pantling-Jones, kbbreview100 member and director at Lima Kitchens in Milton Keynes

Do not allow your own insecurities to get in the way. There are some amazing people in the industry who will support, guide and respect you, so long as you perform. Approach things your way, whether that is in line with the norm or not. Support those who support you and re-flect equality throughout your team.

As a woman, it will be likely that you will still experience out-of-date stereotypes. Find a way to address this and manage this with the support of your team. Do not feel the need to give in to these stereotypes or refrain from participating in anything because of these perceptions. Aim to help others learn and grow out of these preconceived ideas.

Claire Algar, kbbreview100 member and founder of Rouse Bathrooms in Kent

You have to want it, be self-motivated and get stuck in. As a bricks-and-mortar showroom in a world of internet and sheds offering cutthroat pricing, you have to stand out and make your service be the difference – the reason they value your business over any other and great service over cost-cutting.

Use being a woman to your advantage.

Listen to the International Women’s Day Special on The kbbreview Podcast.  on The kbbreview Podcast. Listen now using the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in a podcast app.

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