Vicky Powell-Carden is the Retail Business Queen, that’s her business name and it’s a name that so totally encompasses everything that Vicky is about, she’s passionate, knowledgeable and has years of experience in the retail industry, and we were delighted to get the chance to sit down with Merseyside’s official Retail Business Queen.
Vicky has worked in retail for numerous years, getting her first retail job as a Buyer’s Assistant when she was only 23 and has worked for Matalan, Pound Stretcher, Home Bargains (TJ Morris) and many others over the years, most recently working as the Head of Buying & Merchandising for Liverpool Football Club, always in one retail capacity or another. She says; ‘I’ve always worked for other people and other businesses, I loved my work and have travelled all over the world with it, from China to Indonesia, the USA and Europe. I had a great career but came to the conclusions that I wasn’t happy working for someone else and I had this burning desire to start my own business, except I didn’t know exactly what that business was going to be.’
So with only the idea of wanting to start a business, Vicky came to The Women’s Organisation and was paired up with Business Adviser Jo Mountfort, and together they began to brainstorm and think about how Vicky’s skill set could be turned into a viable business. ‘I originally came to The Women’s Organisation and spoke to Jo about starting up an online retail shop, but we soon realised that this was not going to get me to the level of income that I really wanted.’
It wasn’t only this reason, but also the fact that Vicky was missing certain aspects of her previous roles as a buyer for big organisations. ‘I missed the whole buzz of it really, I missed talking to suppliers, I missed getting excited about product development. Jo told me that I had a solid set of skills and a lot of experience and told me that there would be people interested in hiring my services as a buyer, either on a contract or project basis. Or I could consider offering training workshops… And that’s where it started really.’
Vicky’s business, RBQ Consultancy Ltd (Retail Business Queen) offers services to businesses such as Supplier and Cost Price Evaluation, Buyer Project Work and Retail Operations Planning and training. Vicky started the business in 2015 and it seems like she’s found the perfect fit for her! ‘Since I started my business, I’m evolving as a business owner and my business model is able to move constantly. I’ve had lots of different clients and I’ve got many more different directions that I would like to go in, in the future.’
For us, here at The Women’s Organisation, where we interact with female business owners on a daily basis, it’s clear to see how needed Vicky’s skill set is for those starting or growing their retail businesses. We’ve heard countless stories of business owners purchasing goods from overseas at, what seems to be at first, great prices, before being hit with a big bill on delivery and taxes! Vicky, through her connections and experience, is able to alleviate this stress and help business owners avoid nasty surprises like these big bills!
Vicky says; ‘There’s so many potential pitfalls in retail, there’s quality issues, packaging, labelling, compliance to name but a few, and people can get themselves in a bit of a mess! If you’re bringing something into the country, you are liable and responsible for anything to do with it. So for things like electrical or children’s products, everything has to be completely water tight and comply to British and European regulations.’
As well as using her experience and knowledge to help businesses buy their products properly, Vicky says she there are also more diverse angles to Retail Business Queen that she is enjoying exploring. ‘I was approached by a student property company, they are a new business and they supply the student accommodation sites with items like beds, bedding, pots and pans, cutlery and even wine glasses. I worked with them on a tight deadline last year and drew on my buying skills so I was able to save them huge amounts of money from smarter sourcing, as well as making sure they have the quality products that they want. I saved them over £50,000’
Although, of course, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Vicky, like all start-ups, Vicky has had her challenges. ‘To get everything off the ground is always going to be a little tough. I’ve got to divide my time between so many different things; doing a bit of PR, meeting new clients, invoicing, quoting, as well as doing some actual work!’ As well as this, Vicky is juggling her new business with looking after her two children and developing her skills in areas like Social Media. ‘I’ve always worked in huge organisations where we had whole departments to look after our website, Social Media and SEO, so this has been a great learning curve for me.’
|Matt & Vicky At 'Should I Wholesale?'|
And there are more plans in the pipeline for the future of RBQ Consultancy Ltd such as workshops, drop-in surgeries and clinics aimed at giving business owners fast, great advice when they need it. Back last year Vicky took part in an event we held here at The Women’s Organisation, Should I Wholesale? Where she sat on a panel with Matt Bell, Founder of Revolver Retail and the REX Concept Store, and answered questions and queries on wholesaling; ‘It was the first time I’d ever done anything like that before and I really enjoyed it, it’s something I would like to develop further. I’m passionate about the sector and being able to break difficult topics down for a business owner is something I really enjoy doing.’
But most of all, Vicky relishes the variety of work that RBQ Consultancy allows her, from working with large organisations to working one on one with start-ups, speaking to suppliers or sourcing the best products for a client.
And what advice does Vicky have for anyone thinking about starting their own business; ‘Well. It sounds cheesey, but do come down to The Women’s Organisation or any other support service and talk your idea through! Your friends and family can be quite biased so talk to those who are surrounded by business start-ups and they can come at it from a different angle. By speaking to Jo, I was able to see my business idea from a different perspective and it gave me the confidence and the push that I needed…’
If you would like to find out more about Vicky and her business RBQ Consultancy Ltd. Get in touch with her using the contact details below!
Phone Number: 07767 870977
Social Media: Facebook: RetailQueen
And if you are interested in finding out how The Women’s Organisation can support you and your business idea, then get in touch with us! You can ring us on 0151 706 8111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org