Charles Clinkard’s e-Commerce Director Rachel Clinkard explains why family firm is 92 years young
HER North-East family business has an illustrious history selling shoes since 1924, Rachel Clinkard, e-Commerce Director at Charles Clinkard explains how she is playing a pivotal role in its future.
What did you want to be growing up?
I didn’t have any idea; I was always envious of those people who knew exactly what they wanted to do. I loved maths and problem solving so I knew I wanted a job which involved those skills.
How did you end up in the job you’re doing now?
I was Merchandise Manager and the internet was identified as an area of the business that was growing and needed to have a stronger focus. The work had previously been carried out within the Merchandise Department so I moved across to manage the new Internet Department.
Have qualifications got you where you are, has it been sheer hard work and talent or a combination?
I think it’s a combination of things. There’s no specific qualification for this role but my Statistics degree meant I was suitable for the analytical nature of the Merchandise department. A lot of the skills I learnt there were then relevant to this department particularly at the start. However, a whole new set of skills and knowledge was needed to be gained to continue to keep up with the pace of change on the internet.
Charles Clinkard is a North-East institution – the family firm has been thriving for more than 90 years
1924 – Charles and Eveline opened their first shoe shop in Middlesbrough
1950 – The second Charles Clinkard store opens in Finkle Street, Stockton
1974 – The company opened its fifth store in Leeds
1975 – Adam Faith opened the flagship store in the brand new Eldon Square, Newcastle
1998 – Charles Clinkard was appointed managing director
2004 – The company launched online
2014 – Charles Clinkard celebrated its 90th anniversary and won the Best Footwear Multiple Retailer at the Footwear Today awards for the second time
Do you feel pressure to be a role model to others?
Not especially. Hopefully I follow the example set by my Dad which was to work hard and treat others how you would want to be treated.
Do you prefer networking on social media or face to face?
Face to face!
What is a very underrated business skill?
Saying “No”. Lots of people want to hear that what they want to be done, can be done, but I’m a lot more confident in a “Yes” from somebody who I know will also say “No” if that is the right answer.
How will your industry evolve over the next five years?
That’s a difficult one as the pace of change recently has been huge. I would expect to see websites getting faster and faster to cope with the demands of customers particularly the younger generation. It will also be interesting to see what happens to sites that are very price competitive or offer both free delivery and returns. Will customers expect that from all of us or will that type of offering become unsustainable?
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