5 Minutes With...
Miss Rose Sister Violet
Describe what you do in 5 words: Owner, buyer, designer, visual merchandiser
Our customers love our business because...
We have a wonderful connection with them. We are always cheerful, helpful and design new products to showcase at each Reed Gift Fairs.
A day in the ‘new normal’ is…
Filled with reorganising, cleaning, painting and making our office and warehouse work better than ever before. Each day we get stuck into the tasks we never had time to do.
We run two businesses, the head office in Australia and sister operation in California USA. I am used to working in chaos, always trying to find things and designing in between the cracks of always being on the road or too busy.
This strange time has been a blessing for us on many ways - stopping the chaos and demands to allow us to regroup .
COVID-19 and how it affected us:
We had the best Reed Gift Fairs Sydney February ever with so many orders - suddenly, without warning everything stopped. Stores closed, fairs cancelled, customer orders put on hold. It was so confronting and I thought I would start to panic. Then as I gradually realised that this affected everyone, not just us, I could use this time to reorganise and design and to recreate ourselves in the vacuum of time we suddenly were in.
There was so much we never had time for before: catalogues, line sheets, email lists, improving our website and working on our social media, learning new skills for our business. Ringing our customers to see if we could help - inspiring them and helping them get through this. And most of all, time to design new products.
How have you managed your team throughout this?
I am encouraging them to get systems in place, to improve the way we work. We have lots of cups of tea and we work together on designing and organizing. It’s fun and very rewarding and we are happy.
What have you heard from your customers?
Mainly sad feedback. I have encouraged them to use this time to rework their stores changing things around; painting, redoing displays, changing window displays often, leaving little notes in the window for any passing trade. Planning on reopening with a fresh new look, fresh flowers and music playing and scented candles burning. There is so much to do to improve the way we run our businesses.
Thoughts on where the retail industry is headed?
I can only speak for small business - we are lucky, as being small we can move quickly changing ourselves to adapt and survive. I believe social media is more important than ever before but we need to be more sophisticated, to understand it better and how to use it all to our advantage. I think we will be just fine as people love to spend and there is still lots of money out there. But they won’t spend it on the same old - we need to be unique, have a point of difference, give great service... be authentic and truly care.
This is the time where we decide if we want to continue. To find our hearts and souls again.
To enjoy what we do and do it with all of our heart. If you don’t feel like that about your business perhaps you should be doing something else.
The secret to getting customers back: is to have a good relationship with them, to treat them as you like to be treated. To design new products, to help the customer with advice on how best to display and mainly just listen to them and help solve their problems.
We are always designing and creating new. Redesigning our booth space, being aware of new trends, colours - you have to keep up, change, adapt.
We are popular because we know what OUR customer wants - namely good quality womenswear and whimsical children’s wear; good homewares that are DIFFERENT.
What are the key elements of a successful trade fair?
New display, new products, good music, friendly but not pushy staff. Good lighting - and to have FUN. Enjoy being there - believe me, the customer feels it!
If you create a magical place they will be drawn to it - it’s contagious.