On the power of slick uniforms, Instagram, and quirky window displays.
Hats off to Andrea Maude. If there is a warmer, more engaging union of old fashioned get-your-hands-dirty attitude alloyed to an open minded adoption of new tech and sheer fun in the line of duty, then we are yet to encounter it.
Her devotion to customer service is at the core of all she does and she counts it as her key skill. “I utilise it daily. Going that extra mile for each and every customer, whatever their request, puts smiles on faces. From Christmas to Christmas, I have the ability to remember what customers have bought and I know men, in particular, really appreciate this when it comes to presents for wives, mothers and daughters.” Her shop Maude’s in Boston, Lincolnshire, epitomises the best of the UK’s community retailers and it is high time that it is recognised; and so it has been, scooping the Business of the Year award at the Boston Business Awards.
Also in the past year, Andrea has increased the store’s profile through social media; its united front of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter marketing adding the extra flanks to its online presence. But you really have to experience it offline to get the full-on Maude’s experience, with its imaginative window displays (including popcorn, second-hand books and skittles at the time of writing), regular events and of course Andrea’s laugh – something that was very much in evidence on the day of her photoshoot. Her co-stars here were not planned but simply charmed into getting involved thanks to her outgoing personality.
She often goes beyond the call of duty without hesitation and says her most satisfying moments have come in those times of extra special customer service. “I have delicately lodged an engagement ring inside of an Easter Egg before, as well as delivered a surprise gift to an unsuspecting bride on her wedding day. The relationships that form as a result of these wonderful moments guarantee customers and friends for life.”
For herself, she is happiest in her wellies walking her beloved dogs, but while wellies have an easy slip-on quality, Andrea confesses to having “such small feet, that I struggle to buy shoes from high street stores, which, to me, is the perfect excuse to pop into Gucci every now and again!”
So it’s hats off to Andrea, and shoes on. And a uniform on too, perhaps? Andrea laughs. “We like to change our uniforms each season and we often get a lot of comments on our choices. Despite popular opinion, our spotty dresses this summer were not inspired by 101 Dalmatians, but by a love of femininity and subtle glamour.”
Andrea Maude was selected as an IJL Retail Star in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.