“I go to each of our stores once or twice a month,” adds David. “Our people are on their own most of the time, but I absolutely know that, when a customer goes into one of the stores, 99 out of 100 times they'll get a really good response.”
With the help of funding from the Foresight Nottingham Fund and HSBC, Alpkit will be expanding over the next few years, and taking on an extra 40 people. That’s a sizeable change for a company with a relatively small head office team, four designers and four sourcing and development staff.
The current climate has created a great deal of uncertainty for many businesses in terms of recruitment and motivating existing staff, so is Alpkit any different?
“Just before Christmas, we opened a new store,” says David. “I have to admit that we were a bit worried about whether we’d be able to recruit a store team at that point, but we were prepared to take that risk because we had absolute confidence we could make it work. We are more cautious than we have been but, personally, I try not to worry about the things I can’t control or influence.
“I’ve learnt that focusing on your competitive advantage and your strengths is what’s important. When those are clear, people get enthused. I love the industry and the energy involved in hard work and I’m proud of our design capability and our speed to market – those make us strong, but also mean our people are part of something they can believe in.”