Each week, we ask small businesses key questions. Here we speak to Lucy Taylor, owner of Tarland Toy Shop and Post Office
How and why did you start in business?
When I became a single mum of three I needed to find flexible work. I chose a toy shop, because I was told it was easier to sell something you like and know about.
Having three young children, I was surrounded by toys – and it makes is so much easier for me to sell a product I believe in.
I did some research and found out that there was a gap in the market for good quality, traditional toys. Nine years later, that research has proved to be correct.
How did you get to where you are today?
Through hard work, determination and a focus on exceptional customer service. For example, I offer a gift-wrapping service which really helps with sales. I frequently wrap gifts/toys for large groups and enjoy being Santa’s elf at Christmas.
I took on the Post Office role three years ago. It has been an additional but rewarding challenge, bringing in new but now regular customers.
Who helped you? My mum and dad, Angela and Ian, have been a huge support. I’m also a member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). In addition to having access to the FSB’s wide range of services, I like to know I’ve got professional advice on hand if I need it.
What has been your biggest mistake?
I once ordered a few too many pirate erasers and I still have 138 that have to be counted during each stock take.
What is your greatest achievement?
It has been a real challenge to learn all the aspects of the Post Office side of the business. I have surprised myself about how well the two aspects of the shop work so well together.
I am finding it very rewarding to provide this valuable service to the Tarland community.
If you were in power in government, what would you change?
I would deliver greater support for small business owners and self-employed people, and perhaps even paid holidays.
What do you still hope to achieve?
I want to continue to expand my business. I have recently launched an online shop in order to reach a wider market. With a Post Office on site, posting items during shop hours is not an issue.
I like new challenges and, as my children grow up, I’m always looking to develop my skills further.
What do you do to relax?
I like to walk, read, garden, try my hand at DIY and spend time with my children.
Walking up to the nearby Tomnaverie stone circle is fantastic for clearing my head and there are breath-taking views there. I really enjoy gardening, making frequent visits to the garden centre.
I entered Tarland Flower Show for the first time this summer and even achieved a first prize.
What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on the TV?
I’m enjoying Prison Break on Netflix and reading The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson – I am not far through it but it seems very funny, even from page one.
What do you waste your money on?
Plants – there really isn’t much room left in my garden but I always try to squeeze in another one.
How would your friends describe you?
After asking my friends, they said I was determined, happy, kind, helpful, smiley and always willing to go that extra mile.
What would your enemies say about you?
I’d like to think I don’t have any.
What do you drive and dream of driving?
I drive a Kia but have no real interest in cars. It does me fine as long as it gets me to the garden centre and back.