Merman's philosophy for the Nineties - small is beautiful

PEOPLE & BUSINESS

Sophie Merman got the business equivalent of a black eye when her 1980s creation, Sock Shop, went under, but her enthusiasm for her new business venture, Trotters, a children's wear retailer, is undimmed.

"New" is a slight exaggeration since she founded the company with her husband, Richard Ross, in 1990. Their first shop was in King's Road, Chelsea, and the second followed 18 months later on Kensington High Street. Now they are launching Trotters Direct - a lavishly illustrated catalogue offering designer kids' wear by mail order.

"We've had a fantastic number of enquiries, with requests for the catalogue from 81 countries," says Ms Merman. "We called in Fiorella Massey to make the catalogue attractive for children to look at, with lots of bright pictures and watercolours."

So can we look forward to a rapid expansion of the shop chain, followed by a float?

"No. I know you should never say never, but I've got three small children and I want it to remain a relatively small private company. More shops and you lose exclusivity." In what could serve as a warning to entrepreneurs starting out today, Ms Merman concludes: "Times have changed. Small is beautiful now. I want any pressures on me to come from myself, not from the City."

Good to see Totty in the news - Totty the Bradford-based construction company, that is, which formed part of a consortium which reversed into listed company Shorco this week.

David Bramwell, chief executive of Peterhouse Group, the company which led the reverse takeover, explains that there has been a Totty family business since 1864, and there was a member of the Totty family in the company as recently as 1989. "Since then the company's changed hands a number of times," says Mr Bramwell. "Despite the novelty factor of the name, the company is very well known from Newcastle to Leicester."

Take care you don't stand in front of Zeneca's headquarters in Stanhope Gate, Mayfair - you may get buried in the stampede of executives fleeing the building.

Yesterday Nick Bateman became the third suit at Zeneca to leave the drugs company in a fortnight. He follows John Mayo, Zeneca's finance director who defected to GEC two weeks ago, and Dr David U'Prichard, who jumped ship last week to join SmithKline Beecham.

Mr Bateman has joined drug database software provider Chemical Design Holdings as chief executive. Also joining the fast-growing company in Chipping Norton is John Lambert, a freelance healthcare consultant, who will be finance director.

Mr Bateman will have plenty of work to do. Chemical Design's share price has slipped this year from a high of 265p in February to close at 160p on Tuesday.

There's no one with a harder heart than a London club doorman, as Ted Graham, BT's chief spokesman, found out to his cost this week.

BT is about to move into posh new premises in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, just next door to swanky private club Mortons. Our Ted, mindful of the amount of good business he could steer Mortons' way, assumed he would be allowed into the club free, gratis and for nothing. Not so. Cough up pounds 375 or stay out, club staff informed him.

Philip Randall has been elected the new managing partner of the UK side of Arthur Andersen, following the elevation of his colleague, Jim Wadia, to the post of managing partner of the world-wide accountancy behemoth.

Mr Randall tells me it wasn't a terribly tight contest: "Mine was the only name on the ballot paper." It follows a period of in-fighting at the giant firm during which the accountancy side was unable to agree with the management consultants about who should lead the overall global firm. Mr Wadia just missed the top slot.

One of the things which will exercise Mr Randall in his new job is the impending 40th anniversary of the arrival of Arthur Andersen in the UK from the firm's native Chicago.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried