All for a song

Friday - - Society -

I am quite friendly and good to be with, so peo­ple give me in­for­ma­tion quite freely.

“When I talk to a cus­tomer, I don’t look like a scary CEO in a grey suit out to in­tim­i­date them. I am like a mum on the school run, ask­ing them, ‘How does that work for you?’ or talk­ing to them about their work and kids and how that influences their pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions. I get hon­est feed­back, and that works ev­ery­where.”

What then does the re­tail guru pre­scribe to boost re­tail sales? Noth­ing very dras­tic, just plain old com­mon sense, says Kate. Ac­cord­ing to her, there are the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ in the re­tail busi­ness. “You go to some­one’s house and feel wel­comed, taken care of – if you are treated like that in re­tail, that’s re­ally good,” she says. “The bad is when it’s an ex­panse of glitz and gold and peo­ple stand around not car­ing if you are in­ter­ested in the goods or not, if they are sad and tired, or un­car­ing and boor­ish.

“There are oth­ers who are al­ways wait­ing for the makeover that’s nine months away. Why not make some money now? When you don’t look af­ter the cus­tomers you have, that’s plumb­ing the depths. I’ve seen a lot of this in Aus­tralia, and in the UK. They are busy spend­ing money try­ing to im­prove their busi­ness in other ar­eas, when they should be tak­ing care of the cus­tomers. It’s like some­one com­ing into your home and you ig­nore them. They’re not likely to come back, are they, even if you jazzed up your home for them?”

The ugly is when it’s a com­bi­na­tion of all three – price, ser­vice and at­ti­tude. “When they match the price by siz­ing up the cus­tomer, give them the ser­vice they feel they de­serve – cook up prices and cheat peo­ple,” says Kate.

The worst crime, she says, is when a shop is clos­ing down for the night and a cus­tomer comes in and they turn him away. “It’s in­fu­ri­at­ing, and not likely to in­spire loy­alty.”

Kate also helps busi­ness-to-busi­ness or­gan­i­sa­tions and finds that even though the way busi­nesses op­er­ate varies de­pend­ing on lo­ca­tion, the ba­sics are the same. “Gen­er­ally peo­ple want to be treated with re­spect; ev­ery­where they feel the busi­nesses don’t say ‘thank you’ to them of­ten enough, don’t deal with them in a friendly and hon­est man­ner, we find out what’s miss­ing or what there should be more of, and fine-tune their modus operandi.”

Kate deals with the com­pany bosses in much the same way as she deals with her fouryear-old daugh­ter Nya Ella – with words of en­cour­age­ment and ap­pre­ci­a­tion, be­fore telling them what they are do­ing wrong. “I al­ways tell busi­nesses what they are do­ing right first, so they feel bet­ter,” she says. “No one praises the own­ers and peo­ple at the top. They get their prof­its, and bonuses, but plain ap­pre­ci­a­tion is hard to come by. Then come the brass tacks – this is where you are, this is where you want to be, this is how you do it.” When she was grow­ing up Kate wanted to be a jazz and soul singer. “I very quickly re­alised I wasn’t go­ing to make much money be­cause the prob­a­bil­ity of suc­cess was so small,” she says. “I did it for six months pro­fes­sion­ally while still at school. I was the next big thing in my head. I played clubs and gigs the UK, and saw the cold, unglam­orous side of it all. This was in the Nineties be­fore Si­mon Cow­ell came along. It was re­ally hard work and I didn’t want that kind of a life.”

While study­ing for her A Lev­els, Kate dis­cov­ered a pas­sion for mar­ket­ing. “That was when I got in­ter­ested in man­age­ment, and even while I was study­ing I got into mu­sic man­age­ment,” she says.

Kate was 18 when she be­came the lead vo­cal­ist and man­ager of up­com­ing troupe, The Fab­u­lous BB Kings. She bro­kered deals with Sky TV and Har­ley-David­son for the band, then went on to do a de­gree in busi­ness.

But her pas­sion for singing re­mains. Even now, she sings oc­ca­sion­ally for var­i­ous acts in­clud­ing Bare Faced Cheek, a band she helped start while still in col­lege. Her own busi­ness, which she started in 2009 dur­ing the height of the re­ces­sion in Europe, and char­ity work keep her busy and trav­el­ling the globe. She and her

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.