Speaking to TNP the day before the Prime Minister announced a strict lockdown across the UK, Gillian Franks, owner of Cheshire-based Pixie Childrenswear, said that she was taking one day at a time, endeavouring to keep it ‘business as usual' and trying to find ways to overcome the challenges. She also offered some suggestions about how suppliers could help support independent retailers in these unprecedented times.
Firstly, how are you and the team?
We are okay taking each day as it comes and trying to keep busy while it is extremely quiet.
Do you feel the government is offering enough support for independent retailers?
I think the government is responding as best they can, following scientific advice in the midst of a pandemic!
Are you finding social media useful in connecting with customers?
We are trying to keep it 'business as usual', so it’s important for us to keep posting in order to update our customers and remind them that they can buy online and get it delivered for free.
What’s your online presence like?
We are already promoting our website and saying to our customers that we will make it as easy as possible for our customers to get our products. For example, free postal deliveries and home deliveries – and we’re offering to leave parcels in a designated place. We also offer reciprocal click and collects for our customers, with an independent women’s store in Wilmslow called Black White Denim to make it more accessible for customers.
What are your stock levels like at the moment?
Our stock is okay at the moment as we are fully stocked – ready for Easter and the holidays – but unfortunately people are not buying summer clothing. However, what we have found is that people are buying crafts, toys and Lego to keep the kids occupied through this difficult time.
How can suppliers help you?
A lot of our suppliers are in lockdown, so they are not readily available. And stock is not getting released either, so they are not in a position to help with stock, but suppliers could help with extended pay structures for invoices. And perhaps they could offer to take stock back or agree to take it back on sale or return it later in the season. I imagine that they will be in the same situation as us and not able to shift their own stock, so I would have thought this would be highly unlikely.
How could TNP assist you?
Industry news and product updates are always very useful. There is currently a lot of fear and uncertainty around coronavirus and its potential impact on business – both now and in the future. It’s not always clear where to go for the best advice, so any clarity on the support available for businesses, would also be very welcome. And TNP could help by marketing our great Indies!
Check out Pixie Childrenswear here: