1. Who are you and where do you come from?
My name is Catherine Erdly, I live in South London with my husband, my two children, and my cat.
2. What do you do and why?
I help the founders of creative product businesses grow their sales and manage their stocks to build businesses that last. I am very passionate about this work because I believe that everybody deserves the right to have a business that is financially rewarding and many people start creative product businesses through love of products don't have the business skills to make it turn a profit. I have over 17 years of experience working with high street retailers and my goal when I worked for them was to help them make more money so I wanted to take my experience and skills and use them to help other people hit their goals.
3. What are the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?
I spent 10 years as a full time working mother in a series of roles that were at times very stressful. I would probably say they some of the most difficult times in my career was when I had to juggle babies and toddlers, sleep deprivation, and workplace stress all at the same time.
4. What have been your biggest HURRAH moments so far?
I definitely think this year has actually had a lot of really fantastic moments for me, from being a finalist in the SME business awards, being selected as one of the small biz 100, and being asked by Forbes to be a contributor on the subject of independent retail. Int terms of working with clients I have had the privilege of working with lots of businesses this year who've actually flourished during lockdown and of course, the biggest hurrah moment for me has been founding my membership - The Resilient Retail Club that launched in May this year.
5. If you could give 3 pieces of advice to yourself when you started out, what would it be?
1. Focus, Focus, Focus. I spent a lot of time in the early part of my business trying lots of different things whereas if I'd focused in on one thing for one customer I would have got further faster.
2. Enjoy the process, don't get too hung up on results all the time. In the beginning, I spent a lot of time talking to lots of different people and that was actually really useful and beneficial and I made lots of connections.
3. Your mindset is the biggest thing that you have to overcome, so work on your mindset as much as you work on your business.
6. What are your long-term hopes and aims?
I want to grow The Resilient Retail Club to help as many creative product business owners as possible. I want to make it into the best, most supportive community that I can and help my members to continue to achieve real results and progress with the profitability in their business.
7. Which 3 books would you recommend for: a long hour train journey (with no kids!) / a mood-lifter / a fact-finding mission (ie, non-fiction)?
A long train journey with no kids would be 'I know this much is true' by Wally Lamb, which is my favourite book but it's a giant one with over 900 pages but its one of those books that when you get to the end you wish it was longer because the story is so engrossing. For a mood lifter, I love Jen Sincero and 'You are a badass' books, they are also brilliant on audio. For a fact-finding mission, one of the best books that I recommended for people running their business is ' The one thing' by Gary Keller, which is a great minder to keep focused. I also really like 'Storybrand' by Donald Miller which is a great way of describing how modern marketing works.
8. What are the most common misconceptions you've found from having your own business?
People think that I am available during the day or that I have time on my hands.
9. You’re granted 1 wish (for you / your career) – what would it be?
To be able to make a difference to as many people as possible, that is something that really motivates me and I believe that we are all numbers people, we can be numbers people and we can all get to grips with the information in our business that helps us grow it successfully.
10. What’s your favourite biscuit?
Has to be a Jaffa cake, although I know technically I'm not 100% sure if they are biscuits or not. I know at one point they had to debate that in parliament if they were biscuits or cakes because of the VAT rating which is one of my favourite stories ever!
I’d definitely say working at Arcadia was the toughest year of my life. It was very bitchy and a negative atmosphere which I couldn’t thrive in. On my first day I was shown the toilet where I could go and cry... luckily I was only there for a year!