It’s been a while…..

We don’t blog very often and occasionally use Instagram and Facebook but once the Summer season passes we have a little more time to look around our websites. Yesterday Boris instructed us to close for another month and in the run up to Christmas. We will get by as we are not just “bricks and mortar” but thousands of businesses in hospitality will not reopen. Our main issue this Summer has been the supply chains who got very little support from the government. Boris seems to think he can switch on and switch off businesses. Whilst we understand this has to be done the bitter pill has been watching a certain sector of society really not being bothered at all. On one Sunday in September in the shop I had to request 58 customers to put on a mask – yep, I was counting.  And looking down the line this will stop start up businesses coming along, taking on employees.  Through the Winter the economy really be as flat as a pancake with very few wealth creators entering our sector.

That’s my Sunday morning rant before a trip down to the shop on November 1st where we will be reducing the prices on all the ice cream to get it sold by lock down.  And in the rain too.  Here’s a picture of our beach hut tin buckets – excellent to use as hampers we think. Useful after Christmas  and a bit different compared to the traditional whicker hampers.

How many days?

When lockdown started we had a few strategies. Initially sales online flattened, I understand this happened to most of the non essential online businesses. If the truth be told it very quickly picked up and we have been very busy online. But it’s a different busy as we are dealing with very few businesses and 95 per cent of orders have been with the Great British Public. In fact, when panic stations set in around the end of March my web designers, who are also my business gurus, told us to stay calm and that orders will come back swiftly. And that’s our excuse for not keeping the blog running through the pandemic. It’s now nearly 50 days and today is the Sunday of the VE Weekend when Mr Johnson will be making announcements to ease the lockdown. We are not so sure. With thanks to all our online customers we are very fortunate in that we can perhaps stay closed longer and wait for more positive data to come back from the Government. That’s probably how best to play this one out – no rush. The birds are singing, we have had time to talk to neighbours and some improvements around the house have been carried out but nowhere near as much as we thought. On many days we have just read books and slowed life down a little.

We live in semi rural Dorset and occasionally a plane will use the flight path close to us to descent in to Bournemouth Airport ( currently stacking British Airways aircraft ). This morning as we were getting up we heard the engines close by of what sounded like a 747. We rushed out on to the balcony to see what was flying in, we are taking a lot more interest these last few weeks as it’s usually military planes but up above our house in a turn towards Bournemouth a 747 was flying low. Its’ livery was red, a huge heart followed by the letters NHS and then a red painted tail. Lisa has an app on her phone identifying the flight route. This plane had taken off 10 hours ago from a city in Northern China – no doubt full up with PPE equipment. How the world has changed it a couple of months. Our best wishes to all our customers. Keep safe everyone and we are very grateful for your custom, kindness and time.

 

Day 11 Lock Down and it’s Friday!

Passing by quicker than we all thought – we really didn’t know we had so many seashells! We keep some stock in a stable block and in the deepest corners found some great specimens. Please e mail us if you want to see some pictures of bargain seashells which we have in good numbers. The road outside remains quiet. On our eveining drive to Royal Mail I’m surprised, with so few cars on the road, how much overtaking and speeding there is. Luckily we don’t have much air pollution in Dorset but having said that BA have just parked up half their fleet at Bournemouth Airport – BA Jumbos in the Dorset sky was a rare thing! But the evening light seems different – more clarity and there are so many bees out and about. We even met our fist frog out of hibernation in our little clay pond yesterday. We have some seashell orders to do today and very grateful for them too.

Day 5 Lock Down

We are pleased to say that our core suppliers are still doing a great job regarding deliveries. Overnight we have heard that we have a shipment arriving Monday morning. Another supplier kindly helped us with a large order which was missing a couple of key items – they have pulled out all the stop and promised to get this to our customer on Wednesday. Internet sales are steady, rising slightly on a daily basis. More good news is that a large national holiday resort company who buy from us are putting together an order for redesigning one of their bars. A big shout out to all these customers and suppliers and of course the delivery companies helping this to all happen. As best you all can, enjoy this crisp sunny Saturday and keep safe. And don’t forget that discount code!!

And on the 4th Day

I can see Lisa in the gym taking part in an online keep fit meeting. The dogs are out running around the field with the cats. A wood pigeon has just called out from a birch tree – another sound and indicator of Spring. We have two family birthdays today and I will not be able to see my handicapped older sister who reaches retirement age today or my nephew, who aged 29 today came home from China as a precaution and is now no longer able to get back there and work in his job with the British Council. Brits will not be finding it easy to get back to China and work any time soon as Europe is now the problem. Today we will be mostly targetting our customers from 2015 and those that ordered seashells from us actually that long ago. It’s good to be in touch! We are offering them the 20% discount code on the front page of our website and this is of course eligible to anyone reading our blog. The weather is great all over the UK, please all catch a few rays from a balcony, window or garden if you can!

Day 3 Lock Down

Things moving at a rapid pace. We took a delivery from DPD today to be told by the driver that they may close in a week as all businesses are temporarily closing and there is not enough work. This is true of some of our importers/wholesalers who are closing down their warehouses due to lack of orders. Those wholesalers that have online retail businesses themselves strangely have not closed the retail side of their operations which certainly is a kick in the teeth for their retail customers who have been loyal and supportive to them. We are pleased to say that we enter this period with very high stock levels and should comfortably get through the next three weeks of lockdown. The Chancellor has today offered grants to the self employed. Most retail shop owners trade as limited companies so it looks as though the business rates concessions and grants depending on rateable values will be the only help we will get. Whilst it is generous we feel it will still lead to many more seasonal retail businesses closing shop after the Summer. Easter is a crucial trading period after the long Winter and all will be closed. It will be extremely difficult for these businesses to have turned a profit by the end of the Summer holidays and they won’t hang around and choose to go in to debt through the long Winter. Here’s a picture of one of our 2020 top sellers that we have plenty of to dispatch!

Day 1 Lock Down

We had to make just the one essential journey to the shop today as we were expecting our ice cream suppliers to change one of the fridges. This of course was cancelled yesterday but we needed to move all the ice cream back in to our storage freezer. We really have a super ice cream supplier – if you are West Country based you may well have heard of and tasted Marshfield Ice Cream. They have been supplying and helping us for several years and won many accolades in the industry. It’s sad to see in the run up to Easter that they have halted production. They will bounce back stronger, but if you do see their products in convenience stores we recommend the salted caramel and caramel fudge with clotted cream from their organic farm.

We are hearing that India have just gone in to lockdown. One of my favourite places in the world – Mysore, the sandalwood city, will be suffering and our thoughts drift over to India. Our picture of the day – one of the new whale photo frames arriving this month.

Coronavirus and Us

While we continue to trade online we took the decision to temporarily close our bricks and mortar shop on Poole Quay yesterday evening. The shop has been open for 20 years now and we have probably never taken a day off from March 1st to September 30th in these 2 decades. It will mean we have more time to work on our online retail sites but this will also be an opportunity to blog a little about  Dorset Gifts and let our customers in to our lives a little more – something we have never really had time to do.  It’s 730am on Monday 23 March, the sun is shining, and I’m off for my last game of tennis with Spike no doubt  for a while. Keep safe customers…..

Image Requests

We are always pleased to allow our images to be used by agencies. All we ask is that you e mail us first and get permission to use the copyrights. We can also supplu high resolution images at short notice.

New products.

Busy busy today listing metal bronze sculptures and we have waited a while before adding these. There seemed to be a lot of disparity in quality and price for these items but have found some heavy iron composite  with a great style and look to them. These have all been crafted with just a resin coat ( a lot of these on the market are half the weight and made entirely of resin ) but the heavier iron composite has allowed the sculptures to just be coated in resin on the surface for painting in antique bronze. Almost sounds like a dinner recipe. We particularly like the metal fisherman “Lucky Catch” but everything on the range has been carefully selected and we are confident that all will sell through 2018.