To many people in Market Rasen Anna Finney is now a familiar face on the high street, with her popular boutique, The Pink Pod, drawing several customers to the Big Corner Shop before Anna struck out on her own and reopened The Pod further up the high street in the unit that formerly housed Scoops. But, despite her seemingly well established status on the high street, it may come as some surprise to learn just how recent and exponential Anna’s rise has been. We visited the Pod for a catch up.
We began by asking when The Pod started. “The Pod started September last year (2012). At first it was just a very simple idea. I wanted to sell some pieces of furniture from home but as the winter months approached obviously I didn’t just want furniture sat outside my house. So I started selling some Christmas items inside and quite quickly I found myself in a position to get into a unit because of the opportunity came along with the Corner Shop and MR BIG.”
Now that Anna’s left the Big Corner Shop and settled into the new unit, we asked how business has been of late. “So far, so good. It’s still a risk though. I think I need a full year to really know for sure whether I’m doing what I need to be. But there are two things that I’ve really benefited from. The exposure that I got from being a part of the Big Corner Shop is hugely important. Exposure is everything really. The main thing, though, are my wonderful, wonderful customers. They’re the ones who drive me, encourage me and keep my door open.”
Anna has also had some success with using facebook to her advantage. We asked how she’s made the most of the internet. “Again, the exposure is great. To be honest, I’m a complete technophobe, though. I don’t really know how I’ve managed it. I was so proud I even managed to upload a picture onto facebook.”
During our visit we noticed a number of Christmas related stock around The Pod, including trees. We asked if Anna has already made some Christmas sales. “Yeah, I’ve got some bits in for Christmas already and they’re starting to go alright. I have had some business there. The small, stocking filler items have been really popular so far. Also, if anyone’s interested, I’m a pretty mean gift wrapper, as long as it’s not one of those trees.”
With business in full swing, we wondered if Anna gets any time to unwind a bit, so we asked if her if she has a book on the go at the moment. “I do, actually. I’m reading The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. I’ve just started it but in the few little quiet moments that I get here I do treat myself to a few pages. The trouble is I’m finding it so good I got startled the other day. A customer came up to the till with something and I didn’t even realise they were in the shop! That was a bit embarrassing.”
Finally we asked who Anna would be if she could step into somebody else’s shoes for a day. “One of the Dragons (from Dragon’s Den). Probably Peter Jones because he seems like a nice family man. I’d want to learn all their tips and secrets, see.”
Anna’s story is so far one of rapid success and in time perhaps the young entrepreneurs of the town’s future will want to be let in on a few of her best business secrets. For the time being we’d love to hear your say. Have you been to The Pink Pod? What do you think about shops getting the Christmas stock in early? And is a combination of online and high street exposure the small retail business model of the 21st Century? Once more, let us know.