With physical trade shows cancelled, the social distancing requirements and not all sales teams yet back to full time coverage, the ‘normal’ pattern of showcasing new greeting card ranges and retailers’ placing of orders has been disrupted.
In the latest in a series, PG Buzz checked in with Samantha Gibbs, (pictured above) owner of Nest (a trio of card and gift shops in Stoneygate, Broughton Astley and Thurlaston in Leicestershire), to learn more about her current ordering procedures, how the company is sourcing products, as well as the plusses and minuses of the new scenario.
How has your greeting card ordering process changed compared to pre-lockdown?
“I would say we have been ordering as many cards as usual and possibly been introducing new ranges in earlier.”
What has your attitude been towards face-to-face meetings with suppliers?
“I don’t tend to see reps as a rule because I am not based in the shops, but instead am based at the warehouse. I do miss finding the new companies via the trade shows, as then once the initial order has been done for the shops, I pass the responsibility on for the repeat orders.
I absorb so much at trade shows and really value the time I spend at them, so I really miss that face to face contact. I now fully appreciate how valuable the trade shows are and am hoping that they will resume as soon as possible. I do not want the new normal to stay normal!”
How are you sourcing products now?
“It is so unfortunate that there are no trade shows. While I appreciate the freedom that the internet gives you and the time it frees up, I would not want to go without the trade shows forever, I can’t wait to get back to sourcing face to face! In the meantime, I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of new ranges our suppliers have launched.”
What have been the positives from publishers/reps/agents in helping ensure you have a great card selection?
“For Nest there are two standout stars and it is no surprise as we are constantly grateful for having these guys as part of the family. The first is Think of Me Designs for the continuity of service and the quality of its new ranges (including the amazing new designs). I am so happy our card racks have been graced with this company’s gorgeous cards for years and we truly wouldn’t want to be without them.
The second, without question, is Rosie Made A Thing. Rosie deserves a medal for her amazing response to the pandemic – for the imagery she produced to aid retailers with the signage we would need once opening again and for her incredible Lockdown range which meant the shops couldn’t have looked more current in the new climate. It was an amazing response and we are really grateful to her.”
Conversely, what tricks do think have publishers/reps have missed in helping you?
“I really think everyone is doing their best given the situation.”