“Mother’s Day Had A Very Different Vibe” For Indies This Year

“Mother’s Day definitely had a different vibe this year!” summed up Jodie Hatton, general manager of The Alphabet Gift Shops in Burton-on-Trent and Mickleover. “The Saturday before Mother’s Day is usually a bit chaotic in the shops, but in the best way possible, with us running round finding the perfect cards and gifts for last minute shoppers,” but with all non-essential shops closed, like her fellow bricks n mortar indies, Jodie’s sales came from online and Click & Collect. 

Above: The Alphabet Gift Shops actually reported increased Mother’s Day sales, but due to gifts.
Above: The Alphabet Gift Shops actually reported increased Mother’s Day sales, but due to gifts.

“We were lucky to have an established online business prior to the pandemic, selling through our own website as well as through Not on the High Street, Trouva, Etsy and Silk Fred. Our Mother’s Day sales were actually up on previous years – which is always a bonus! Our best selling product this year was a personalised ‘Superstar Mummy’ hoodie which definitely reflects the current lifestyle we’ve all had to adopt of being cosy and content indoors!”

Above: The personalisable hoodie was the best selling Mother’s Day product for The Alphabet Gift Shops.
Above: The personalisable hoodie was the best selling Mother’s Day product for The Alphabet Gift Shops.

While Rachel and Paul Roberts, co-owners of the Mooch group of stores in Northamptonshire describe Mother’s Day as the highlight of the year so far!” it was on the gift side that they really scored. Their volume sales of Mother’s Day cards were “massively down”. Rachel feels that they “lost out to the supermarkets, newsagents and garden centres who could offer the in-person choice.”However, on the gifts front, they cited a “big standout trend” of “customers looking for ‘assistance’ rather than just choosing themselves” which resulted in lots of gift boxes being made up. “We promoted our ‘Gift Guru’ service and lots of people were very appreciative of our advice. We offered luxury wrapping as an option and over the final week over 80% of gifts went out beautifully wrapped – we also received lots of complimentary emails from very happy customers whose mums loved the extra effort! As always, the last few days were manic and both local and national couriers played a blinder with every single order being delivered in good time.”

Above: A spot on sentiment gift from Life Charms that was promoted by Mooch.
Above: A spot on sentiment gift from Life Charms that was promoted by Mooch.

The big sellers for Mooch were home fragrance, scarves, bird feeders and handcrafted soaps.

Sharing more than just a trading name, Jon May, co-owner of Mooch shops in Stourport on Severn and Bewdley revealed that its Mother’s Day Card sales were strong, but were half what they were in 2020.

“We are fortunate to have our online store which kept us busy, however we did lose out on sales to the supermarkets and garden centres who cashed in on non-essential retail being closed.”

Above and top: Mooch in Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn went to town on their window graphics.
Above and top: Mooch in Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn went to town on their window graphics.

While he says that online is great, “you really need to know what you are looking for, unfortunately Dads buying Mother’s Day gifts with the little ones are not that savvy and need to come into our stores for that inspiration or for little Johnny to choose a gift himself.”

Although there was a lot of online traffic on the Friday night with orders flooding in sadly there was not the usual “Saturday rush before the big day with our stores closed. Reports locally of gridlock and crowds in supermarkets said it all!” said a frustrated Jon.

Adam de Wolff, co-owner of The Indigo Tree, Streatham and Crystal Palace said that they did not experience a huge online pick-up for Mother’s Day, “of course we were well down on previous years, but at least we took something.”

As an extra incentive, The Indigo Tree instigated a card bundle promotion of ‘Buy 6 and get the cheapest free’. “In effect people bought their Mother’s Day cards as part of a bundle. It went incredibly well and we are now considering continuing the offer instore when we re-open as well as continuing online,” said Adam.

Above: A Mother’s Day bundle from The Indigo Tree.
Above: A Mother’s Day bundle from The Indigo Tree.

The Indigo Tree also offered a few Mother’s Day Gift Bundles, made up of soaps, mugs, scarves etc with a card, which were promoted on the local Facebook/Mumsnet groups as well as the retailer’s own social media feeds and newsletter.

“This time last year we weren’t selling online, so generally very pleased to have been able to generate any income at all…but we really, really do need to reopen on April 12th!” stressed Adam.

One retailer who is most definitely full of the joys of spring is Carl Dunne of Cards and Gifts, Dronfield and Sheffield.

“WOW what a rush! This is the first year in our Dronfield store but comparing it to what our Sheffield shop usually takes, we’re easily 100% up! We were one of the lucky ones that were able to stay open all the way through, thanks to also being a newsagents, so ended up being over-run with people coming in.

I think Mother’s Day has meant more to many this year, so people were ready to go all out and spend more.”

Carl noticed that customers were trading up, with the majority going for code 100’s and above, with an average card purchased being over £3.  “We ended up with a double order from UKG as we brought over the stock from our closed shop! And on the gifts, we just couldn’t keep up.  Candles and diffusers were a big sell – Potters Crouch, History & Heraldry, Sass & Belle, all flew out,” clarified Carl.

The gift sales also resulted in an upsurge of giftwrap and giftbag sales of UKG and Glick products.  Carl was also surprised by the number of people going for balloons this year as well. “I had to make extra trips to BGC and Jacksons wholesalers as we didn’t have enough!” he said.

Above: Part of the Mother’s Day card selection in the Dronfield Card and Gifts shop.
Above: Part of the Mother’s Day card selection in the Dronfield Card and Gifts shop.

Not leaving anything to chance, the plucky indie marketed on social media as well as through Dronfield Eye, a local magazine which goes to 22k+ homes.  “In actual fact though I don’t think it was necessary this time as word of mouth was the big push, with people saying “my friend said you were open – it’s a godsend in lockdown”.

Emma Paisey, owner of Daisy Park in South Molton, Devon said that she took a more sensitive approach to her Mother’s Day marketing this year. “I was conscious of my marketing being much more sympathetic and understanding due to current difficult circumstances for families,” said Emma.

“Mother’s Day was very much an online experience with some local Click & Collects. It was definitely lower in sales due to shop being closed, although many still tried to come in! We felt that we particularly missed out on the last minute dads and kids on the Saturday before Mothering Sunday, so the supermarkets would have won on that side I would imagine,” she adds.

On the best seller front, Emma says that “cards, Mum mugs and gifts with sentiment (especially the wording ‘hug’) were a clear winner this year and understandably so.  The best selling cards for us were Woodmansterne’s Emma Bridgewater designs and Molly Mae cards,” reveals Emma.

Above: Two best selling cards at Daisy Park, from Woodmansterne and Molly Mae.
Above: Two best selling cards at Daisy Park, from Woodmansterne and Molly Mae.

Kaye Thurgood, owner of Sincerely Yours in Shenfield and Hornchurch sold through 85% of her Mother’s Day cards through its website and Click & Collect, “albeit from a heavily reduced stock base as I’d cancelled the majority of our Spring orders.” However, she points out that the Click & Collect service for Mother’s Day and other occasions since December has provided a great way of “keeping in touch with our customers. The signs are very positive in this regard, as our very loyal local customer base is indicating that they cannot wait to come in and support us when we reopen.”

Someone else who is relieved that Mother’s Day should be the last event missed due to lockdown is Sarah Halsall, owner of Hand Picked by Henrietta in Chapel-en-le-Frith. “Mother’s Day behind a mask definitely isn’t one we want to repeat,” said Sarah.  “Unfortunately, our usual best weekend of the year certainly wasn’t, although we did receive a few orders and many messages of support.  However, we can’t wait to be back in our shop doing what we love.”

Above: Hand Picked by Henrietta’s Sarah Halsall just can’t wait to be back in the shop.
Above: Hand Picked by Henrietta’s Sarah Halsall just can’t wait to be back in the shop.

 

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