At Working Class Heroes, business is simple; find great product, stock it, photograph it, pack it and dispatch it, all from their HQ in Ulverston, The Lake District. Their honest, witty and personal approach to customer service has earnt them a loyal community of like-minded customers. We visited the store a few weeks back to learn more about their journey so far.
Store: Working Class Heroes | Location: Ulverston
40-44 Market Street, Ulverston, LA12 7LS
Words: Tom, Founder of WCH
When did your store open and can you remember how you felt when it did?
The store opened in October 2006. I was stoked to be up and running and humbled by the sheer amount of help I received from my friends to get things going. There was some pressure to make things work too...if I messed up, I was back off to supermarket hell.
Why did you choose to open the store? What was the vision?
The shop was a reaction to the life I was living at the time. I was not happy, so I decided to change that. The DIY, punk spirit is something that was burning away and the shop was a means to exercise this. The whole thing was started with 10 grand, including stock and a shop fit. So next to no investment, no banks, just blaggin' for 5 years, building up a brand list, making relationships with customers and those in the industry.
Rob joined me back in 2011 and we got things rolling online. From this point forward we have been able to get much better direction, sourcing the brands we want to sell and curating a list that we are proud of.
The most important thing we can do is keep progressing, keep looking for the interesting, lesser known, quality brands. Introducing these sorts of brands to our customers and seeing them work is a buzz.
What makes your store team unique?
There are 8 of us now, at least 50% of are unemployable by anyone else. No-one else would even try.
What is the view from your store?
The CO-OP. Great for lunch. Their pork and pickle pies are the thing of dreams.
If the walls of your store could talk, what would it say/what story would it tell?
Snitches get stitches.
They'd be asking us not to play anymore disco, techno or reggae. In fact, I think Costa Coffee next door would also be in favour of us turning down the music.
What is your favourite feature of your store?
The counter is in symmetry with the door behind it and then the conduit metal pipes are symmetrical to the door.
Currently, everything on my desk is perpendicular to its length, no more than 15cm apart, but greater than 5cm. That's normal, right?
What are your favourite Millican products of the ones you sell and why?
Smith the Roll Top 18L in Ember. The quality of these bags is second to none. No shit. Of course I'm going to say that, we sell them, but it is true. The straps are comfy, the laptop section is super secure and protected. Little extras like the magnet closure on the rear storm flap, reflective strip in the back. These bags have had a lot of thought go into them.
Do you have any events coming up in the store to share?
Mountain bikes every Thursday night, sun or shine. 15 miles, then to the pub.
Free beer every Saturday in store.
Ulverston has a Dickensian Festival, 25th - 26th November, and we run a bar outside the store. It's a great atmosphere, the real ale is the business!