Independently speaking… with Postmark

Leona Janson-Smith is looking forward to the Retas and hoping it might spark off the next big idea for Postmark!

Leona Janson-Smith
Leona Janson-Smith

Even before I worked full-time at Postmark one of the annual events I never missed was the Retas. I mean who could turn down the chance to get dressed up, quaff bubbles before midday in the very luxurious Dorchester Hotel while chatting to a whole host of very friendly people? It really is a great day out.

This year it’s even more special for us as we’ve been very lucky to be nominated for two awards – Best Indie Retailer (London) for our new store in Greenwich and Best Initiative for our Feel Good Friday campaign to encourage more people to send cards to each other ‘just because’.

I know it’s a massive cliché but it really does feel great to be nominated.  So tomorrow we’ll be packing the kids off to school before donning our fancy gear to head ‘up town’ for the day, full of nerves and excitement with the Postmark team.  To be fair, we may not be as glamorous when we return but as long as we bring the ‘presents’ home – as the goodie bag is known in our house – all will be ok.

But whether we win or not, days out like the Reta are not only a great excuse to take a break from the everyday humdrum of running your own business they can also be really inspiring and motivating; giving you a chance to see your business from another perspective.

When you’re running a business it so easy to get lost in your own little bubble, head down, haring around making sure shops are open, stock is out and everyone is doing what they should be doing to keep customers happy and coming back through the door.

The kids can't wait to see what the Retas goodie bag hold this year!
The kids can’t wait to see what the Retas goodie bag hold this year!

In all of this it can be very difficult to take time out to just stop and think about what you’re doing but also more importantly why you’re doing it.

Before I came on board to work with Mark, like a lot of other business owners, he was shouldered a lot of responsibility by himself running three shops while also trying to fit family time around all these external demands and pressures. In a situation like that it can be very difficult to make time to think creatively and all too easily you can find yourself doing something because that’s how it’s always been done.

Working together has definitely eased that burden but it’s also done something more important, it’s give us the space to be more creative about how we want the business to grow and to get organised now in order to help that growth to happen.

This included looking at who was doing what and how that could change. It didn’t take long to realise that Mark was basically responsible for everything.  With some time and effort this is no longer the case and not only has it freed up more of his time to concentrate on running the business, it’s also allowed us to tap in to the talents of our staff and give them the chance to take on bigger roles and learn new skills.

Postmark has been nominated for a Retas award for its Feel Good Friday campaign
Postmark has been nominated for a Retas award for its Feel Good Friday campaign

For us, the catalyst of my arrival into the business was the spark for all this change, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that big.  To get your creative juices going you could try doing something as simple as changing your routine. Take a new route to work, walk the long way round or take a few hours to go shopping, not just in your competitor’s stores but across the board.

One of the things I never seem to do anymore is just browse some of the amazing shops we have in London, which given I now work in retail is a little ironic, so that is something that is definitely on my ‘to do’ list for the summer.  Doing new things or shaking up your day can really help to wake up your brain cells and get new thoughts flowing.

But one of the biggest barriers to thinking creatively is thinking you’re not creative! Don’t worry about it because you already are. Everyone can come up with ideas and that is what this is all about. The most important thing is to make a little time to be able to just think and to do things that will inspire your thinking.

Best of luck to everyone nominated tomorrow, and who knows it might just spark off a great idea.

Pictured at top: Mark and I at last year’s Retas

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