Retail Merchandising Services (RMS)
Newport-based Retail Merchandising Services (RMS) is a retail development company supporting the largest retailers throughout the UK and Ireland with merchandising, installation and store support.
The company offers support to some of the world’s biggest retail brands, providing labour to implement changes in store layout and promotions. As a global retail development business with over 350 years of combined senior management retail experience, RMS’s purpose is to contribute to their partners’ success by delivering industry-leading merchandising services, backed up by cutting-edge technology, ensuring the best shopping experience.
What they did
Founded by Peter O’Toole in 2005, Retail Merchandising Services has grown from strength to strength since its inception and has quickly turned into one of the UK’s leading specialist merchandising solutions firms with a client list including companies such as retail giants John Lewis, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Boots, WH Smith and B&Q, employing hundreds of people in Wales and across the UK. During that time, RMS achieved impressive revenue growth of 200% and was ranked 11th in the 2013 Wales Fast Growth 50 initiative.
Since Peter tragically passed away in 2015, his son Daniel, previously Development Director in the business, has taken the lead and has implemented significant changes to the structure of the business, ensuring its future stability and continued growth. He has focused his strategic approach on the core offerings of the business: merchandising, technology and recruitment, and has introduced new training programmes for RMS employees.
Their proudest moment in business
"My proudest moment is managing to get the team to buy into a new culture, with a new business model and refined strategy."
Do they use Welsh in their business? If so, how has this helped them
"We only use the Welsh language with some of our business contacts. However, I wish I could speak it more frequently."
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Daniel was originally supported by Business Wales’ Relationship Manager, Phil Summers, who provided guidance with the growth plans for the business and advised on how best to develop Daniel’s management skills. Phil referred him to the Business Wales Mentoring service where Daniel was subsequently matched with a business mentor, Julian Morgan.
Daniel commented: "Julian has been a truly brilliant mentor! From the first introductory meeting, I knew I would get on well with him. Not only did he come with a wealth of experience from the industry and life in general, but I felt immediately at ease knowing he shared the same vaues as me.
Balancing many challenges in a business that was going through tremendous change with new major client and supplier partnerships, as well as endeavouring to integrate a new senior team, was incredibly difficult. Julian listened to my challenges intently and allowed me to come to my own conclusions. After every mentoring session, I felt like I had taken a load off my mind, and able to go back to the business with a clear vision and get through the challenges confident that I was doing the right thing. Whilst I am still a CEO with only 2 years under my belt, I now feel far more experienced having had some guidance from somebody who’s ‘been there and done that’."
Here are the business’s top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- leadership is everything; a business will only grow as much as its leaders’ leadership potential, you are often the limiting factor – work on being the best leader you can be, and your business will grow naturally
- compliment your skills; assess your strengths and weaknesses and fill your team with people who are good at the things you aren’t so good at
- culture is set from the top; you need to live and breathe your values every day – make sure the business’s values align with your own, reiterate them as often as possible and the culture will follow
- experience goes a long way; whilst I’m younger than the typical CEO and we have some amazing Millennials on the team, some grey hair really helps! Get close to somebody who has experienced business and change – either as part of the team directly or as a mentor at least!