Behind the business: Meet Scot Patterson of Hamishmunro
I grew up in the family businesses, Patterson’s of Aberdeen and Hamishmunro. From the age of five, I was the little helper at both shops, putting shoe boxes away, helping tidy up or being the ‘assistant’ for one of the staff selling shoes! If I wasn’t helping, I’d be sneaking the paper stuffing out of shoes and making a ball to kick around in the stock room. These days, I watch football rather than playing it, but I golf when I can and enjoy spending time with friends and family.
My parents, Susan and Steven opened Paterson’s of Aberdeen when I was three. When I was seven, the Munro family wanted to retire, my parents bought over Hamishmunro. Hamish and Shirley Munro had created a wonderfull loved business over two decades, known for its great products and stellar service. We’ve strived to uphold that standard ever since. When my father retired in 2017, we closed Patterson’s.
Hamishmunro has developed considerably over the last 24 years, originally being two separate men’s and ladies’ shoe shops, before refitting into a ladies shoe and fashion boutique fifteen years ago.
We added our online website/brand Something-For-Me in 2011 which has allowed us to expand our customer base. We have customers as far away as Peru and Mongolia but the Aberdeen store is still at our core and our family’s heart. When COVID hit and all retail businesses had no idea what would happen, I worked an unfathomable number of hours to ensure we had to best chance to get through it. We’ve thrived since the pandemic, thanks to our great staff and loyal customers.
It’s always been a family business. Even now, I talk to my parents about the business every day, Mum enjoys coming along on buying trips and my aunt is the store manager. Everyone from my granny to my sister and nieces has helped out at some time.
We spend a lot of time selecting the brands we stock. We try to offer high quality products that are still great value for money. We have a mix of favourite brands that still offer something fresh each season and try to add some new brands each year.
I do a bit of everything and no two days are the same, whether its serving customers on the shop floor, sending parcels across the world, dealing with suppliers, managing the background business aspects or simply cleaning up, there’s always a job to be done and the variety is what I like most.
The biggest challenges for a business like ours are mainly Brexit-related. 95% of our goods are from European brands and Brexit was as big a challenge as COVID for us. No longer can we get goods within a few days, the majority of suppliers have scaled back in-season stock holding and we have seen customs/import costs skyrocket. As a business we haven’t seen a single benefit from Brexit. We’ve spent a huge amount to improve the store’s energy efficiency as power bills spiral and we’ve been fighting for improved parking options at lower costs for years but all recommendations have not been considered seriously by Local Council.
If I wasn’t working here, I think I’d still want to own my own business. I went to RGU and graduated with a management degree. While I don’t think I always expected to run a fashion boutique, I definitely wanted to be my own boss and challenge myself in the business world.