Fashion careers: boutique owner

samanthaSamantha Harvie, 29, owns fashion boutique Solo in Glasgow’s West End. The young entrepreneur offers some insight into running your own retail business.

Tell us a bit about your company.

Solo is an independent fashion boutique that has been open since 1984. We stock a wide range of designers that caters for ladies of all ages. The collections available are a carefully selected mix of established and up-and-coming designers.

What made you want to run your own boutique?

Solo was an existing business that I took over three years ago. I saw it as a great opportunity as it was a well-established business with a loyal clientele.

Have you always wanted to work in fashion?

I never knew what I wanted to do when I was younger but I have always loved clothes and fashion so it was a natural progression.

What’s your background in terms of education and previous work experience?

I studied History at the University of Edinburgh before completing a Master’s in International Fashion Marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University. As part of my Master’s, I undertook an internship at Topshop’s head office in London, where I worked with the buying team on knitwear. After this, I secured a job with New Look at their head office in London working as a Buyers Administrative Assistant on their skirts and dresses department.

What does your job involve day-to-day?

It varies so much. It can be anything from looking after clients and selling on the shop floor to more administrative jobs such as  sorting deliveries ,pricing stock, paying bills and dealing with reorders.

What do you enjoy about it?

I love the buying. It’s always exciting to see what is coming in the next season.

What’s the hardest part?

Also the buying!  There is so much to think about and getting exactly what the customer wants isn’t always easy.

What’s your advice for anyone hoping to set up their own shop?

Make sure you have a business plan and a good cash flow system in place.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I’d like to have a transactional website by then. So many people are buying online now that I think an online presence is key.

Find out more about Solo at, or visit the store at 181 Hyndland Road, Glasgow

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