It seems to us that in high street retail, there are two ways of tackling January.
You can stand behind your counter and wait for it to be quiet … January will not disappoint you in that regard.
… and this is the way Mr and Mrs Deli tackle the start of each new year, you get out and about and you turn the quiet month to your advantage.
First rule of getting out and about … communicate, communicate, communicate. Tell everyone you are going to do it. Create a buzz around it but, most importantly, let people know when you will be open.
In January, we are open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. See, super-positive. Look, lovely customers, this is when we will be here for your deli needs. Tell folk what’s available … fabulous local bread, great coffee, the amazing cheese counter … blimey, we even have wine for those not giving in to the pressure to go dry for January (there are wine producers and merchants to support, everyone!).
Make a plan for the rest of the time … TELL EVERYONE.
We packed in trips to Pembrokeshire, London and Glasgow. Mrs Deli drew the line at New York and Paris but we picked some great spots, with amazing food and small business influences and we headed out on the road to source great tastes and inspiration.
We shared, shared and shared again. All the social media channels buzzed with hints and snippets from our trips. Tantalising nods to new lines; tasty meals in ‘kindred spirit‘ businesses; funky designs and shop layouts; and pictures of us hanging out with cool producers.
Our customers seem to love our travels. They are curious. They feel connected to the people who make the handpicked products on our shelves. Customers are excited about tasting the things we’ve been tasting.
It turned out that Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays were crazy busy days in the deli. Six days of activity compressed into three. Perfect for creating a busier atmosphere with none of the usual downbeat mood of a dreary January.
We feel good and that comes across to everyone in the shop. Mr and Mrs Deli are buzzing with new ideas and the ideas become the upbeat topic of conversation.
And so we’re back. What have we got to show for it?
Well, watch this space as we have loads of exciting new handpicked products to ‘wow‘ you with. Look out for lactose-free milk chocolate, fermented foods, small batch gin from a tiny Scottish island, venison charcuterie, balsamic vinegars from Northern Ireland, botanical chocolates from West Wales, new flavours from existing producers. Check out the lemon ketchup (yep, you heard me correctly, fish ‘n chip night will never be the same!) and even more natural wines from small producers discovered by Robin, our discerning wine guy at Iron & Rose.
So, small business owners … you get to choose. Bemoan January, wrap yourself in a melancholy cloak of gloom and despondency, stand there gazing out the door looking for the retail hordes who just won’t be arriving by the busload however much we’d love them to …
Get out there and create your own buzz. Write your own mood music. Be the architect of your own inspiration. Give your customers something amazing to look forward to. Build the foundations for a fabulous year. We cannot wait to get started!
2018 … bring it on!