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Small business focus: Richard Cumming and his ‘shop for blokes’ in Elgin

Richard Cumming is helping to keep the men of Elgin well-groomed.
Richard Cumming is helping to keep the men of Elgin well-groomed.

Each week, we ask small firms key questions. Here we speak to Richard Cumming, owner of men’s grooming shop Sirology, in Elgin.

How and why did you start in business?

Since I was a child I have always wanted to run a shop – as all kids do with their own tuck shop or post office in a briefcase as I had, but that desire never left me. In 2016 I had an opportunity to find out if I could do it and make it work. So instead of waiting for retirement to jump into retail, I took the challenge on and love the fact that I did.

How did you get to where you are today?

My roles have varied over the years but the ones I have thrived were working alongside the public. I have been extremely fortunate to have a really supportive partner, small family and amazing close friends behind me to allow me to go for things.

They are not involved in my business but are extremely important to me, and a key part of all my choices, successes and failures.

Mr Cumming in his shop.

I starting out in journalism but quickly realised it was not for me, so took the inquisitive aspect of it and went into sales and marketing. I then joined a family business, dealing with its office and operations side. This gave me a great understanding of the daily aspects of a business, more than I would have had at a bigger firm.

You need to be a tea-maker, book-keeper, HR, admin and so much more – just like I am nowadays as a buyer, merchandiser and quality controller, while also doing book-keeping, sales and everything in between.

Who helped you?

We started with just two of us, and it was a great introduction to shop life and establishing a business in Elgin. I joined Elgin Bid (business improvement district) as a director, and found other shopkeepers and business owners more than helpful and supportive.

With support from my partner and family, I took over the whole business earlier this year and am looking to the future. Elgin has an amazing and bonnie town centre, and it is something I strongly feel should be supported and embraced.

What has been your biggest mistake?

Not doing this sooner. I seriously think now, with a bit of age and experience, that when you want to do something you need to do it. What happens if you don’t? Your mind goes back to it now and then, and you wonder “what if?”

What is your greatest achievement?

The shop has won awards for best retail, new business and customer service but my proudest moment yet is being the sole boss of an enterprise I love. How many shops for blokes do you see? But guys can enjoy great products and looking good, either by choice or having items bought for them.

If you were in power in government, what would you change?

Small businesses need to be heard and taken seriously, and that is one of the main reasons for me joining the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Our wonderful nation is built on small businesses and during the past year or so, crucially, they have kept up the community spirit despite being seen as less important to the big boys. With the FSB, I feel we can be heard and be more visible.

What do you still hope to achieve?

I want another store. I love Elgin and we have a great variety of businesses in a beautiful town centre, but I would love to add more to what we have to offer and help bring a bit more life to the high street.

What do you do to relax?

Food, drink, and the fantastic company of friends and family. I could say reading, arts and crafts, sports, etc – but no, feed me and top up my glass. Very few of my WhatsApp groups don’t have the regular mention of food, and pictures of great plates being enjoyed, or a great swally. I do read though, and also help manage a few social media pages in the community.

What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on the TV?

I go through phases of reading – always crime thrillers and love Stuart MacBride. On TV there is only one winner, Gogglebox. People watching other people watching TV is gold.

What do you waste your money on?

Clothes, food and gym gear. I buy food and then feel guilty for overindulging, so I go to the gym a few times a week. One day I will fit into all those clothes that I buy and hoard.

How would your friends describe you?

My really close friends would say fun and loving, with the best memory for random things.

What would your enemies say about you?

Do I have enemies? I hope not and don’t think I do. What we all have is people who come in and out of our lives at different times for reasons and lessons. If people don’t like me, to be honest at this stage in my life it’s their loss.

What do you drive and dream of driving?

We have a VW Tiguan. Out of myself and my partner, I am the practical car man so comfort and function come first – but I would not say no to a nice Range Rover.


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