Emily Wilkins. Photo by Erin Caitlin Photography.
Congratulations to Emily Wilkins!
While not the original game plan, Emily is now part owner of a business that has been a local mainstay for over 30 years. Her duties include selecting and displaying stock, managing staff, and all marketing decisions. Essentially the day-to-day management of the business.
As an ideas person, Emily encouraged the redesign of the retail space, opening it up and making sales areas easier to navigate. E-commerce capability has expanded on the website. While others weren’t sure, Emily felt rental customers would pay for the convenience of delivery and she was right – bookings have doubled each year. With some product manufactured on site, she increased visibility of the ‘made here’ aspect and shares this story by offering factory tours. All have contributed to sales increasing about 20% over last year.
It was a challenge coming in to a well-established business and quickly moving to full responsibility; there was much trial and error learning. While staff management was a steep learning curve, Emily has implemented more effective training methods, adjusted scheduling to better support staff, and put more work into the hiring process to find remarkable people who make all the difference. Emily greatly appreciates the support that she has had from more experienced business people.
Learning how to keep everything afloat in the busy summer months has been very rewarding. Emily now prepares as much as possible in the slower season. Some maturity and documented protocols have also helped her to stay calm when the pace gets hectic.
Emily offers this advice for other young professionals, “It is very important to pay attention to your own mental health and stress levels as this can translate to business health. A lot of youth don’t think about this. They access lots of business-related resources to develop those hard skills but may not think about mental health resources and support.”
The judges were very impressed with how Emily has grown. Initially uncomfortable with the decision-making role, she now shows confidence in all areas and the business is better for her involvement.