Hungry to learn about retail from a young age, Harris was involved in the family retail business at the age of 10, and also worked on the Board of Directors at B&Q for a year.
“Growing up in a retail environment, everyone was always talking about the business and I wanted to find out what it was all about.”
Academically gifted, he started to study his first degree at 15 years of age. He is now studying law at the University of Abertay in Dundee, a part-time Master of Arts degree at the University of St Andrews and an accountancy course approved by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Stores: Two Nisa stores in Fife, Scotland
He is also a non-executive director at Nisa Retail. “When I was applying to the Nisa board I started talking to other members and when I’d mention that I was 16 it didn’t go down that well!” he says. “But once I’d spoken to people for 10 minutes or so, they’d understand me.”
On top of this, Harris runs two Nisa stores in Fife as company director of his family’s business - one just over 3,000sq ft in Markinch, and the second eight miles away in Kirkcaldy measuring 2,400sq ft. A third 10,000sq ft site has also been purchased and is expected to be up and running shortly.
“My ambition is for us to reach four stores by Christmas,” says Harris. “Right now, the way we are starting to prepare for this is by putting managers in place. Both stores are running themselves at the moment, but the finer details can get neglected. We’re now putting a higher emphasis on categories.”
He claims he has been inspired by Amstrad entrepreneur Lord Sugar to ‘smell what sells’, but the Apprentice star isn’t his biggest hero. “The person who inspires me most is my Dad. He is constantly buying and selling and he’s always had the determination to expand.”
Harris is equally driven. “I’ll have all my degrees by the time I’m 18 if all goes to plan,” he says. And he has every intention to put his degree learnings to good use in the family business.”I get a thrill out of retail. Having worked with influential retailers you get that ambition and you know the potential of the industry.”