As a brand, Aspinal isn't just about the creative design process. Many people come together to create and promote our selections, and our stores form a crucial part of our identity. Here Daniel, a member of our People and Talent Team, tells us more about our wonderful stores around the globe and what it takes to be part of the Aspinal family:
1. Describe your role in three words.
Supporting, developing and protecting
2. What's your favourite thing about working for Aspinal?
That every day is different and working here is completely different from any other organisation. I often think there should be a fly on the wall documentary made about us! Aspinal team members are like a large extended family and every day brings something new. I love the fact that we put so much emphasis on developing our team members to be the best they can possibly be, and our customers can sense this when they enter one of our stores or pick up the phone to HQ.
3. How do you think Aspinal is different from other brands?
Firstly, we really care about our customers. We want them to enjoy Aspinal products and help them chose the piece which is right for them. All of our team members share one common goal - to delight and thrill anyone who comes into contact with the Aspinal brand.
Our size also makes us really nimble and unique. We can quickly adapt to customer's needs, as well as putting client feedback into the design process and we can host bespoke events and workshops in our stores.
4. If Aspinal was a drink, what would it be?
An English sparkling wine.
5. Which of the London stores is your favourite?
Brook Street. There is something wonderful about being in that store. Firstly, the interior dates back to the times of Handel (the German composer) who lived there in the 1700's. There is a real sense of history, and it provides a beautiful backdrop for the contemporary and colourful Aspinal collection.
6. How is your store experience special?
It's purely customer focused. We are only focused on ensuring that our customers are wowed and entertained. Our in store team build up some amazing relationships with customers who they serve for years on end - one of my customers has known me since I was 18 years old and working on the shop floor!
7. Do you dress up the stores at certain times of the year?
Our windows are constantly changing, and our talented Visual Merchandising Team work endlessly to ensure that our windows are really unique and captivating. Our windows have recently been nominated for international awards so I am really proud of the work our Visual Merchandisers do.
Christmas is a big time for us and we really make the stores super magical, installing real Christmas trees, garlands and spectacular windows that really put our customers in the mood for festive shopping.
8. Do you get a mix of nationalities and ages in the stores?
Our customers span all ages. My youngest ever customer was an eight year old girl who came in to buy her teacher an end of term gift, while my oldest was 97 who has a rather fabulous backstory of teaching dance on the rooftops of Soho. We really do appeal to every generation which I think is incredibly unique for any brand.
We serve customers from across the world, with Chinese and Middle-Eastern being the most frequent as well as having lots of customers from across Africa, Australia and the US. Our sales team can speak over 35 language and come from over 40 countries so we can really cater for every culture and make everyone feel at home in stores.
9. What does it take to work for Aspinal?
We run the organisation with a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit, challenging the norms and taking a really creative approach in everything we do. We don't like to take ourselves too seriously as we need to ensure that we provide a fun environment for our customers.
The biggest questions I ask myself when hiring for Sales Associates is "can they hold a conversation" and "are they hungry to learn" - if the answer is yes we can train them on everything else. I'm so proud that people I have hired into junior roles without any experience are now climbing the ranks and becoming fantastic managers for the brand.
10. What events have you hosted in Aspinal?
We host events across the store network every month. My favourite event so far was Champagne tasting in our St Pancras store. We also do regular 'meet the designer' events where customers can come and meet our Creative Director and design team. We also participate in wider events such as Vogue Fashion Night Out.
11. When is the busiest time of year for Aspinal?
Christmas is very busy but very fun. The entire team across the business work endlessly to ensure that every customer finds the perfect gifts. Our prep starts way back in June when we place the orders for our Christmas stock with our workshops, the marketing team prepare our Christmas events timetable and our Graphic Design team are busy preparing our Christmas gift guides and look books. At the same time I am busy ensuring we have the right team members in the right place, and starting to think about how we will recruit and train our wonderful Christmas helpers.
12. Does your job involve a lot of travel?
Travelling is a huge part of my job as I am also responsible for our international stores which I try to visit often. Recently, I've travelled to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Beijing, Shanghai, Armenia and Russia with Aspinal.
I also look after all of our stores across London and the UK so I will frequently be zooming up and down the country visiting our team members and spending time on the shop floor with our customers.