On the up Hunter Ruthven · 30 November 2015
Family business series: A Hume Country Clothing and its quest for “exemplary” customer service
Ahead of Small Business Saturday on 5 December 2015, Business Advice is running a family business special series hearing from companies around the country about why joining forces with family members can be a powerful thing. First up is A Hume Country Clothing. Statistics from American Express, which is the principal’supporter of Small Business Saturday, show that over half (57 per cent) of small businesses employ family members and on average 16 new family businesses open every day. Furthermore, ‘six in ten Brits would consider going into business with a relative and joining forces with a partner or spouse (44 per cent) was the most popular choice. A Hume Country Clothing is a third generation family run shop currently owned by Archie Hume with his wife Karen, and has been on Kelso Square since 1929. Archie’s grandfather opened A Hume in 1929, originally as a tailor where men could get their clothing made. All suits and jackets were made-to-measure in-house by histeam of five highly-specialised tailors using the finest tweeds and cloths a service the shop still offers to this day. It wasnt until the 1960’s when Archie’s father, Jock Hume, took over that ready-to-wear collections were introduced to the traditional tailoring business. Jock ran the business until 1987 when, following his passing, Archie took over at the age of 23.In 2007 Archie’s wife Karen joined the company to develop the online business and launch A Hume’s first ladies wear range. Archie’said: Without local businesses, villages and towns will lose their individual character that makes them so special. Shopping small is a way to ensure the high street continues to be vibrant. “Weve found that people are looking for individuality so we stock artisan brands not readily available, because customers want to look different. Were also passionate about supporting our local suppliers and stock local brands. Karen added: We work well as a family business. Im the operational one working behind the scenes, while Archie is creative and customer facing we know to keep out of each other’s space! Everyone in the A Hume team is passionate about what we do and will always go above and beyond for our customers. When asked how the industry has changed over the years, Archie explained that competition is tougher and the business has tomake sure it stocks brands not readily available on the high street, as well as ensuring the retaileroffers “exemplary” customer service. “It is more important than ever that our staff go the extra mile for our customers. We have had to embrace technology to stay ahead of the game as customers expect a multichannel retail operation and we have to cater for all, ” he explained.
ABOUT THE EXPERTHunter Ruthven
Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.