Located on Buckden highstreet, Anne Furbank has extremely eye-catching window displays… From a young age I was often caught gazing at the beautifully dressed mannequins – wondering what it was like behind the doors. My Nana was a loyal customer there for a long time and purchased her wedding dress from them just over 4 years ago now. The day of her wedding was particularly exciting for me as she popped in to give the girls a glimpse of how stunning she looked, and of course do some morning shopping! I tip toed behind her in my bridesmaid dress to have my first ever peek in the shop… A blonde beauty who I now know as Carolyn retied the bow on my dress to make it perfect. I don’t think I will ever forget that. To my amazement, working at Anne’s has shown me how much of a memorable customer my Nana really was! Everybody seemed to remember her very well.
I was recently given the chance to get behind the scenes for a week and have a real Anne Furbank experience. Manager Debbie gave me the chance to work with every individual and learn their role within the store. I cannot believe how much I now know, in only a week I have been cramming information into my lovely Marc Cain notebook (with my lovely Bassler pen – oh la la)….
An inspiring talk with Annie about how she started the business gave me knowledge of the store. If you saw the shop now you might think it was always like that… 17 changing rooms, a beautiful array of personal shoppers, fantastic management and endless rooms of numerous brands. However, this is where people like myself were clueless. Annie started with just two rooms and a few frocks! The business has grown and grown as Annie along with husband Richard created a fantastic business. Amongst the many customers I saw in that week, it was pointed out to me by Annie that one couple were of her first ever customers! They have been loyal ever since, over 30 years on. That alone shows just how Anne Furbank is a shop that people will never forget. Five star customer service, there is no doubt about it.
Alongside Annie is Becky Furbank, she is a huge part of the store in many ways – but something I particularly noticed was the way she brought a young mindset to the buying of the brands. The customers ranged from yummy mummy to elegant grandma – the collections have to cover this very large variety. I have to say, Becky, Anne, Debbie (for Marc Cain) and Karen and Claire (for Joseph Ribkoff) are five star buyers! I couldn’t fault their choices. Becky talked me through buying and how she went about it. She also taught me that they are often looking for new and exciting brands. I think it is important to keep the stock fresh for customers that purchase over and over again. I was also lucky enough to have a peek at the data base and more technical side of the business.
If you shop in Anne Furbank you will notice that it is a personal shopping experience… When you walk in to the shop the girls know what size you are and what colours and styles look good on you. It is this factor that makes them stand out from any retail staff I have previously come across. I loved spending time watching the customers try on all these beautiful clothes that were chosen perfectly! The team are flawless.
My week was jam packed with Debbie teaching me almost everything I needed to know about Anne Furbank. I was given the chance to help make the window displays with lovelies Julie and Emma, their ideas were fantastic. At sale time the clothes were not put on the mannequins so we made pretty flowers to hang and dresses from just tissue paper! Here are some photos:
Other memorable times included learning alongside Melissa who dealt with the website and everything online. She gave me a few tips for this blog such as the twitter feed I now have! Working the 75% sale on a Saturday certainly kept me on my toes! Though a sale, there was no slacking in Anne Furbank! Clothes were not left on the floor and I was still wrapping customers purchases in tissue paper before placing them in a bag. Within two hours a whole room of stock had been cleared. The only word I have is ‘wow’. My favourite part of the sale was the fact I was able to help Debbie then merchandise this room with new collections. I also learnt how to take in deliveries and about the buying of jewellery. Furthermore, I was able to attend a training session where Annie modelled the clothes whilst Becky taught us about the products, this was done so well I had never seen something quite like it! No wonder the girls know so much about each item.
I cannot wait to go back in September for promotion week (models and champagne, darling!), and I shall be at the door in no time if ever they need any help. What a week and what a lovely team of professionals! This has given me a real insight to fashion on such a professional and formal level. I know now that there is no going back… I will make it to the industry.