Opinions Perspectives South

Step By Step At Stainers

Stainers is a supplier of Technical & Safety footwear that was founded in 1912 and fifth generation Paula shares her insight of life in the family firm.

What does your family business do?

Stainers is a supplier of Technical & Safety footwear offering specialist advice, that was founded in 1912, so we have just entered our centenary year with the launch of a new phase in our development with ‘Top to Toe Corporate & Personal Grooming” Silk Hair & Beauty, incorporating SilkiSoles Foot Spa & Nail Salon.

Originating as a shoe repairers and over the years developing with the times to become a shoe shop supplying many different types of footwear for the whole family with good quality shoes. Venturing into a new branch in 1980’s Stainers introduced safety footwear this now is a vital part within the business as we supply over 500 local company accounts with safety footwear. Stainers has built up an amazing reputation over the years and is best known for its high quality customer service, knowledge of product, free parking and welcoming atmosphere.

How did you get involved?

Like many involved with their family business I initially began by helping out with the annual sale, hand delivering leaflets with my brother on our bikes! Then as I grew up I would look after the business when my parents went on holiday.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher, aspiring to be like my Auntie & Grandmother who were both teachers at the time.

What are your first memories of the family business?

Staying with my Grandparents at the family business when my younger brother was born and seeing my Grandfather & Father working together in the shoe repair workshop.

What values are important in your family/family business?

Our standard of customer service underpins everything that we do and it is essential that we understanding our clients in order to deliver the highest possible service to them. Teamwork & ensuring a happy, productive and rewarding working environment, for both staff and customers is also at the heart of what we do.

What is the best thing about being a family business?

The best thing by far is working as a team giving & receiving support from one another.

And the worst?

Finding the right balance between ‘working’ hours and ‘home’ hours, trying not to talk about work at home and respecting the boundaries, which is not always that easy in practice!

What is the best thing about your working day?

Being surrounded by an enthusiastic team of people and setting & reaching achievable goals.

What has been your proudest achievement?

Reaching “Family Business of the Year 2010” Top 3 in the Dorset Business Awards and celebrating our centenary in 2012 which is a fantastic achievement for the family to be proud of.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing family businesses?

Competing with the internet, supermarkets & large chains price cutting as well as rising overhead costs and the changing & developing world of technology.

What words do you associate with family businesses?

Tradition. Dedication. Pride. Teamwork. Gratification. Support. Commitment. Personal. Satisfaction. Fulfilment

Words of wisdom – What piece of advice would you pass on to someone thinking about joining the family business?

Whilst in a professional working scenario relationships must be professional and clear, with a clear separation of the two and time put aside for relaxation. Include and update all members of staff in order to create a sense of cohesion. If a working relationship doesn’t work between family members, finish it as a loving relationship is more important. Family relationships should never be jeopardised for business, and a business should not be jeopardised by a destructive professional relationship.

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