I’ve started to see a few festive rumblings on social media. Retailers are tentatively suggesting stocking fillers and gift ideas and Emma Bridgewater was the first to hit my email inbox with a light-touch Christmas missive. Yet as the leaves are only just turning and many of us are enjoying the softer autumn days and dusting off our jumpers, people’s reaction to these rumblings is perhaps understandably grumpy. We don’t feel ready for Christmas, we don’t want to skip Autumn. We haven’t even done Halloween and Bonfire night yet. With the prospect of Christmas being cancelled, we don’t want to be bombarded with retailers telling us what we should be buying for friends and family we might not be seeing. It all feels too much, too desperate and amidst all the political, economical and medical horribleness of Winter 2020, people are bound to get really cross.
But as an independent business owner looking ahead to what is usually our busiest and happiest trading period, and on into 2021, I feel great sympathy for smaller retailers that are starting to press ‘go’ on their Christmas campaigns. We all know spending is going to be down. We know people won’t be browsing the high streets, they’ll be browsing their ipads at home. We know the big retailers have the big marketing budgets to plough into online digital spend which pushes the little retailers into a black hole of online anonymity as they can’t compete with the huge increase in online costs*. We also know that Amazon will be the busiest behemoth it’s ever been. And with all of that comes the real possibility that many of the independents won’t be in business next year. When your business is the thing that pays the mortgage, buys the food and employs people, then it really, really matters. And every sale you can make in this trading period is quite literally the difference between surviving these times, or not. So forgive the smaller shops and retailers if they go early on Christmas this year, spread the love for what they’re doing, and let’s help ensure our brilliant independent retailers have the chance to make it through the winter into what can only be a better year next year.
PS If you fancy some of our handmade, luxury Christmas hot chocolate, pop some in your basket here - and thankyou!
*If you are shopping online, try to 'google deeply' - the first few pages of your Christmas ideas searches will bring up the big retailers who pay richly for the privilege of being top of your list. Delve further, go for the higher page numbers and you will find some of the best and loveliest independent brands and businesses out there.