Happy Birthday To Us!
We are celebrating our 25th anniversary this month, and as part of the celebrations we sat down with our founder and MD Nick Say to chat about
why he decided to start the company, the trials and tribulations he’s encountered as a business owner, and the changes he’s seen in the industry over the years.
Hi Nick, congratulations on 25 years of Saymor! That’s an incredible run, especially for an independent business. What do you think makes Saymor so successful?
Before we set up business my wife Lynn and I had very clear objectives:
1. Know your market.
2. Specialise in beds and related products; my knowledge and contacts in my previous career were very important.
3. Offer value for money.
4. Have a clear merchandise strategy.
5. Develop a high standard of customer service.
6. Train & develop the staff to the highest standard.
All of the above has really come together in the last five years!
You began the company back in 1991, after working in the furniture industry for years. What made you want to start your own business?
I was made redundant from a large well-known retail organization due to a change of strategy and management. The timing was absolutely right and I wanted to say in Gloucestershire, stop travelling, and see more of my family.
The opportunity presented itself to start our own business with a site in Abergavenny, where we traded for ten years very successfully. Towards the end of that time, having come out of the town, we opened stores in Stroud and then Ross-on-Wye.
Saymor has always been a family business, with your wife helping you run the company, and now your son and daughter-in-law taking over. What’s it like working so closely with your family?
I believe one of the reasons for our continued success is the fact that as a family business we all have very clearly defined roles which leads to positive relationships, less conflict, and the ability to achieve our long-term strategic objectives. It is extremely rewarding working so closely with members of the family as each individual cares deeply about the business.
Having been in the industry for over 30 years, you must have seen a lot of different trends come and go. Both in furniture and in shopping styles! What do you think the most significant changes have been in that time?
Product technology has advanced significantly with the introduction of memory foam, laygel and the ability to introduce very high spring counts pocketed within the mattress. As well as this, standards of manufacturing have improved immensely, enhancing comfort and support. Supplier support and cooperation with product specification is particularly important to our business.
Small independent suppliers have also become more sophisticated and better value than many brand names. In addition, online promotion with our website, Facebook, etc. has helped to promote our business profile and change how we connect with our customers.
Saymor is a well-loved business in the communities of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, having stores in both Ross and Stroud. Do you think the community spirit of the business plays a large part in your success?
We have worked hard to earn the loyalty of the people in each community. Market towns are generally very supportive of local businesses and as long as you offer great value for money and a high standard of service you will maintain that support.
We have great feedback and support from our customers with lots of personal recommendations and we really appreciate the support we’ve received.
In recent years you’ve handed over a lot of the day-to-day running of the business over to your son and daughter-in-law, David and Sally. What do you miss most about being out on the front line?
I am still fairly active in the front line of the business, particularly with regard to sales. I enjoy the merchandising of the stores, changing the store layout, presentation, and ticketing. The only aspect I really miss is the marketing side which I have passed onto Sally and David, as things have changed and the current style and type of marketing is something I would not get used to. However they do keep me in the loop!
What would you say have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in terms of online shopping becoming more and more popular in the last fifteen years or so?
We have adapted our business to compete successfully with the internet by exceeding the advice and service that online companies can offer. We continually emphasise the need for our customers to seek the right advice and physically touch, feel and test the merchandise in the store to find the right product for them personally.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start their own business?
1. Have a very clear business strategy.
2. Buy your own business premises.
3. Understand fully the cash flow implications of the business.
4. Employ like-minded people and then train and develop them.
5. Know your market, find your niche.
What would you say is the core ethos of Saymor Furnishers?
Great value, great quality, great choice, and great service! As well as our stores in Ross-on-Wye and Stroud, you can keep up to date with all things Saymor by visiting our Facebook pages (Ross and Stroud) and on Google+. You can also read and post reviews, and see images of the available product lines. All information about current products is available on the product pages