Paul Turner-Mitchell, Retail expert and co-owner of 25 Ten Boutique, speaks to Retail Week about his life working in retail.

What was your first job in retailing?

My career path into retail was unconventional. No training. No experience. Having worked providing consultancy services to the legal profession for the past 15 years, the boutique was a joint venture between my wife and I. But six months into the project, we were hit by recession.

Which retail company do you admire most?

I admire those who are prepared to stand up, refuse to sit back, and invest in their business.

What is the trait you least like in yourself?


Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?

Indies are generally on their own, but recently I have spoken a lot with [former Wickes and Focus boss] Bill Grimsey. I love his straight talking, no-nonsense approach.

What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?

If you run a great indie or you want to start one then you need to think beyond your business. You need to think about how you connect with other independents and how you can work together to make the high street a better place.

What keeps you awake at night?

Business rates.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Happy customers.

What’s your proudest achievement?

In 2009 I was invited to a special reception at Number 10 by the then Prime Minister. And being included in the Drapers Top 100 Powerlist.

What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?

I’m still involved with the legal services sector.

What’s your favourite shop and why?

That is a tough one. I try to support as many local shops as possible, but I do like Selfridges.

What was your last purchase?

A new Blackberry, and anyone who has spoken to me of late will testify that I am still getting to grips with it.