Retailers Alan & Margaret Little work with their two sons, Carl & Mark, who both joined the family’s country sports & outdoor clothing business, Alexander James of Pendlebury, straight from school. “The boys were only babies when we set up the business in the Seventies” explained Margaret. “They have learned the trade from us and although they did go to college for a while to learn some aspects of tailoring, most of their skills have come from my husband. We have a shop with a workroom above, where we work side-by-side with our sons and we are so very proud of them. We also consider ourselves very lucky to see our children every day, some people don’t see theirs for weeks and weeks because they live all over the place.”
Shrewd business acumen, a range of extra services and an export programme help to keep the firm nicely afloat. ” The Americans like the English tailoring and they like dealing with a family business, so we have been building up the export side of things” said Margaret. “We have just come back from Virginia, where we are supplying a big store with some of our garments.
Mark & Carl – whose middle names, Alexander and James, were used to name the store – have accompanied their father on his overseas trips and they have brought new ideas to the table. “We are happy for them to try new things and they have the ideas and the energy” said Margaret. “Mark & Carl work in all areas of the business to see what they think, one day, we will step aside and they will take over.