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Retail for Change: The Social Sessions

As part of our Retail for Change programme, we are delighted to bring you an exciting new series – The Social Sessions.

The series consists of 10 x 90 minute masterclasses, hosted by Rachael Brown, delivered across the year and leading up to the pinnacle in sales – Christmas and beyond. The sessions are targeted at supporting Scottish social enterprises and not for profit organisations with a product, service, or experience.

These immersive masterclasses will cover logistics, manufacturing, and how to reach and understand your customers through group online learning, and bring in brilliant experts and social entrepreneurs leading the way. These sessions will focus your plans and allow you to develop your best possible ‘retail for change’ offer.

Rachael Brown: SIS Associate & CEO – Future Economy Company

Rachael is a SIS Associate and CEO of The Future Economy Company. The Future Economy Company’s focus is to enable creative & social impacts to be at the heart of our economy, something that is relevant more than ever.

She is experienced in supporting purpose-driven businesses & creative enterprises to flourish and grow. Rachael is an active female leader, and proud to lead an all female team.


Session 1 – The New Customer, Wednesday 25th May, 10am to 11.30am

Among many things, the pandemic changed the way we buy, and it changed consumers’ behaviour. So how do we find that new customer? What do they want, and how do they want it? This masterclass explores that and so much more.

In this session we will cover:

·       New customer behaviour

·       Changes in consumer purchasing

·       Trends & how they affect consumer behaviour

·       How to find our new customer.

Margaret McSorley Walker:Guest Speaker – Margaret McSorely Walker

Margaret is a trends specialist and recognised industry expert in the fields of product development and innovation. She is currently Director of Scotch Cross and has decades of experience in leading product development for brands such as Greencore, McCain, and Asda where she was Head of Innovation.

Margaret now also has another company with her husband Andrew – Galloway Scottish Pasta, where they have developed and created a uniquely Scottish Pasta with wheat flour milled in Fife and Aberdeenshire Organic Oat flour. With this exciting new product they are  looking to reduce food miles, create something more local and bring manufacturing skills back to Scotland

Margaret helps identify current and future trends and demonstrates how tapping into them can be used to build business advantage.


Session 2 – Our High Street, Thursday 30th June, 10am to 11.30am

What are the opportunities for social enterprises on our high street? The humble high street is going through a period of revival. As the consumer demand for buying local increases, join us to discuss the opportunities, challenges and potential for social enterprises and the high street. Join us – it might just surprise you!

In this session we will cover:

·       The high street stats & data

·       Rural high streets and urban high streets

·       What impact does ‘buy local’ have?

·       How can social enterprises access opportunities in the high street

·       What are the investment & financial challenges?


Session 3 – Digital Sales Home & Abroad, Thursday 28th July, 10am to 11.30am

In today’s world all types of businesses are digital businesses – even social enterprises. Digital skills are integral, but how do we scale from spreadsheets to sales at home and abroad. Join us and expert speakers to discuss what you need to know about this ever-changing marketplace and learn how it can present challenges and opportunities and open you up to new ideas.

In this masterclass we will cover:

·       What does success look like in digital sales for social enterprises?

·       What are the operational challenges, and how to overcome them

·       What expertise is needed to develop digital sales?


Session 4 – Luxury Market & Social Motivations, Thursday 25 August, 10am to 11.30am

Join us to hear from retailers who operate in the luxury marketplace but recognise the increasing demand for ethical buying and want to work with social partners. Brand alignment and brand partnerships within the luxury marketplace presents exciting opportunities for social enterprises – join us to find out more.

In this masterclass we will cover:

·       Brand alignment, what does that mean and why is it an opportunity?

·       Operational excellence

·       Long terms partnerships and long-term gains.


Session  5 – New Product Development, Wednesday 28 September, 10am to 11.30am

How do you approach a new product, how do you develop it, and what’s the milestones and timescales? Join us for this hugely practical session where we will be exploring this in detail. You will learn from retail experts who have worked for some of the most well-know retailers developing new products.

In this masterclass we will cover:

·       From inception to launch

·       Product development cycles

·       Timeframe & testing

·       Why develop new products?


Session 6 – Pricing, Packaging & Placement, Wednesday 26 October, 10am to 11.30am

Join us for a highly practical and interactive session and that will include:

·       How to approach costing and pricing

·       Operational needs – packaging

·       Where & how to sell – distribution, local retail and other options.

Details on Retail for Change: Social Sessions 7 to 10, and the Retail for Change Bootcamp (to be held in 2023, and previously known as the Retail Academy), will be confirmed in the coming weeks.