Small Business Q&A: Patrick Bourke

Menswear has been a staple of men’s fashion and suits on the Ennis high street in Clare for more than 40 years. It recently won the Retail Excellence Ireland award for Store of the Year for 2015. Kehlan caught with up with Patrick to see how they did it.

You just won Store of the Year, How did you do it?

Yes, thanks. Well it took us by surprise really. We had no idea that we were going to win. There were so many strong contenders in the category, but we’re very proud of this. We worked really hard to get it. Not just working towards the award, but we’ve set ourselves high standards in how we deal with customers and do business. So this was the culmination of a lot of hard work from all the staff who have been integral in us winning this.To win out of the 600 stores who originally entered shows just how intense the competition was and how amazing it was to win.

You’ve been around for 40 years, but how did the past number of years go for you?

Like many independent retailers, not just in the fashion sector, it’s been difficult. We’ve had a lot of loyal customers and that has come about from the way we treat them. We survived because we listened to what they had to say and made sure that we gave them a great experience from the moment they walk through the door.We also looked at strategies which other industries engaged in and used them in our business. If an idea worked for somebody else maybe it could work for us. So we adapted, took on new ideas and we’vebeen able to stay on our feet.

Those new ideas include your social media as well?

That’s right, we have a Facebook campaign going at the moment called ‘Postman Pat’ where we pay for the postage and packing for suits or clothes from our store to be sent to any family relative abroad. So any Irish mammy can send their son far from home something nice. All we ask is that whoever gets the package takes a picture in some nice location where they are with the Patrick Bourke bag we enclose with the package. We put that up on our Facebook page and pass it around. It’s a nice thing to do and it helps us to solidify that personal relationship we have with our customers.

It’s been a tough past few years, but 2015 is looking bright, yes?

Yes, definitely. This is looking like it will be our best Christmas for about six years. So we are very hopeful that next year will bring more on top of this year. We’ve had a very upbeat 2014 and the consumer, more importantly, seems to have found their feet again. Provided the Government don’t do anything to dent that, I think things are looking up.

You can hear this interview and more on Small-Business-Show



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