“If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!” The old phrase that we all know has the important end: “..and you wouldn’t have an opportunity”. When we have shortages of fuel/drivers/containers/CO2/customers/freedom (select your own problem here…) the great retailers and gift producers that we have in Britain rub their hands with glee!
“We have the opportunity to make a difference this year, whether going into new products or attracting lost Debenham’s customers, our businesses can find space to grow. This year, the grocers and major high street chains do not have the best Christmas stock all for themselves, only to panic with four weeks to go and announce a big sale!
“We smaller companies will be nimble and trade well. We spot the trends and commit to stock – as was our only way of surviving for so many years. The nimble retailers I speak to show their passion for product and what they do, making quick calculations to reach decisions relatively large for their size, which would take weeks or even months in a larger company. This gives the nimble retailer an opportunity to grab market share and grow.
“For our own opportunities, Boxer currently has good stocks of most lines, as we always do (though not as much as we’d like!). Like everyone else we’re suffering delays from Far East deliveries, which we now are mitigating by assembling some ‘Better In My Day’ jigsaws in the UK.
“We had to make some big decisions in the summer to get behind some lines with little consumer feedback. We have a passion for product and a nose for what’s selling in gift books and our fun novelty ranges, so we did the same as many retailers are doing right now and backed our instinct.
“Golden quarter problems can derail seasonal businesses like Boxer Gifts, and many gift retailers across the country, as October to December is often our only profitable months. We know our product, like retailers, but that doesn’t stop us being nervous – this is not an exact science, so we won’t be completely right. We just have to be more right than wrong to survive another year!
“With good trading, Boxer Gifts will be more ‘right’ than ‘wrong’ and will have enough funds to develop more new products to ‘Slay the Mundane’ and to see us through until Christmas ’22 sales begin again, as they always do!”
Thomas O’Brien is managing director of Boxer Gifts.
Top: Boxer Gifts’ Thomas O’Brien.