Here at the Birmingham Blogger, we want to promote everything great about Birmingham. In that vein, we are starting a new, on-going series spotlighting local, independent businesses, and getting to know them, their businesses, and their feelings towards Birmingham as a place to start and maintain a business. In the first of the series, the Birmingham Blogger sat down with Hal Higgins, the owner of Higgins 1948, a formal and casual shirt shop here in Birmingham city centre.
Tell us about your business
Hal: Higgins 1948 is a shirt shop, named after myself. We sell top quality shirts for business professionals and the general public alike, in a range of sizes and styles. We’re also one of the foremost providers for bespoke tailored shirts in Birmingham, a somewhat unique product that cuts a shirt to your exact size, allowing it to fit you better than off-the-peg shirts. The shop is in the Great Western Arcade, a stones throw away from Snow Hill train station.
How long have you been trading in Birmingham?
H: We’ve been trading here for a few years now. The shop came after I decided to move from being an online only retailer of shirts to a brick-and-mortar shop business.
Why did you decide to open in Birmingham?
H: Well as anybody who speaks to me will immediately realise, I’m not from around here! But I decided to open up in Birmingham as opposed to my native London because London is very crowded. Plus I was able to affordably set my shop up closer to the business centre of the city. London is far too spread out and expensive to match Birmingham in this regard.
How have you found the area so far?
H: I’ve liked the change. Again, the cheaper rent rates have allowed me to open a bigger shop than I may have otherwise been able to in London, or even places like Manchester and Liverpool. There are some trade-offs, but I haven’t found a real negative yet. For example, footfall may not compare favourably to the other places I mentioned, but that also means I’ve had a lot less pointless visits. The people who come through the door know what they want, and see from the outside that we are a quality choice – that’s priceless.
Would you suggest other businesses come to the area?
H: Certainly. People who have lived here their whole lives won’t know what it is like elsewhere. I do, and I can tell anybody reading now that Birmingham is a great place to start. It’s a bustling city, and for most shops, that is enough to survive and thrive. People seem to have got it into their heads that “success” means either a national or an international brand. That’s rubbish. By all means aim for that, but if you can live comfortably with one outlet or business, you are a success. And Birmingham shows no signs of “drying up” any time soon, so it’s a smart place to put down roots.
Higgins 1948 is located in the Great Western Arcade. You can call the shop on 0121 200 3183, or visit the website, https://higgins1948.co.uk