Down To Earth With A Bump (in the night)!

  1. Rob
  2. September 29, 2010 11:19 am

After just a few weeks trading, we were taking the equivalent of a whole year’s rent each week – a pretty healthy position for any retailer.  Takings were growing fast, and I was in a situation I loved – a really steep, almost vertical learning curve as I was finding my way in the Designer Menswear business; meeting new brands, pitching for accounts, marketing the brand – Bagga.

Five O’clock on a Sunday morning; a deep sleep was shattered by the persistent ringing of my home phone, then my mobile.  The alarm company were calling to say there had been an activation at the shop.  I lived around 20 minutes away, but got there in ten.  A back door had been forced, and a burglary had taken place.  A complete nightmare.  I had been very vigilant in the security measures taken prior to the stores’ opening, but had left a weak point.  Intruders had demolished the frame of a reinforced door, and had caused a load of damage, as well as getting away with a fair amount of my new stock.  Piles of jeans had gone, along with a rack of designer shirts.

The most upsetting element of the burglary was the fact that the scumbags had destroyed some beautiful glass shelves, totally unnecessarily. Needless to say, a huge amount of grief ensued, tidying up, reinforcing security, dealing with the police and insurance company, and replacing the stock.

The first burglary was a harsh initiation to a really unpleasant element of running a designer clothing business.  I don’t want to upset the chronology of this blog as the history of Bagga is laid down, but over the years there were several nasty events that have sometimes made me question the reasons I was involved.  The vast majority of consumers are decent, law-abiding individuals who simply love clothing; however, designer clothing also attracts attention from some real low-life.  Having a shop (or website) stuffed full of designer brands such as Stone Island, Armani Jeans, Lacoste, Evisu and G Star is like a red rag to a bull with these guys.

The first brush with the “dark side” of designer retail was a pretty harsh wake-up call.  Security has been a major concern ever since.  I’m pretty good at making premises pretty much “bomb-proof”, but there’s always a weak point.

On the subject of security – one day I was out of the shop, and there was a lone member of staff for a few hours.  While he was alone, a small gang entered, and made it quite clear that they were about to help themselves.  At exactly the right moment, one of our regular customers, an 18 stone “rough diamond” happened to pull up outside.  He worked out what was about to happen, and dished out a “friendly” warning to the ringleader of the little posse, lifting him right of the floor by his throat, so he could look him in the eye!

Gang of would-be raiders were never seen again, and our friendly regular was rewarded with a fair discount.

Next…….  The brands – building the portfolio – our first real victory!

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