Dame Mary Perkins on having Specsavers’ HQ in Guernsey [Video]
The Specsavers founder on growing a business while being based in Guernsey
Dame Mary Perkins while “It might have seemed strange that in fact Specsavers opticians started in Guernsey… in fact that is where the head office is”, she was living there at the time and became “the biggest employer outside of the civil service”.
The only real disadvantage of starting a business on an island is “to have a great stretch of water between your head office and what was the main market, which was the UK and the republic of Ireland”. Perkins admits that given the chance to start again she would “not start from Guernsey… because there’s a certain number of people there and you’re going to run out of people who’ve got the IT skills or marketing skills”.
Despite this, the advantage of having a local workforce is they’re “very loyal, they’re very friendly, they know each other, and they’re very proud of working for specsavers… they feel it’s part of their family”.
Although it also results in “quite a lot of traveling”, this can also be advantageous “because you’re away, you become very efficient at what you’re doing, so you’ll cram loads of meetings into one day… Whatever you’re doing, you’ll make those days from early in the morning to late at night really work for you”.