Ahead of Brexit (remember that?), I was concerned about being able to ship my duvet stock from Italy where it is manufactured. So before any potential window of opportunity could close, I placed a huge order and then shipped the lot to the UK. Our stock room was bulging but at least I felt I had sufficient bedding to meet sales throughout the journey into the Brexit unknown.
Well then came the corona virus and lock down. Ok, I thought, I am going to struggle around my bulging stockroom for some months and braced myself for the potential of stagnant sales. My logic was, with people either on furlough or feeling unsure of their job security, their knee-jerk reaction would be to batten down the financial hatches and retail spending would cease.
The exact opposite was true – sales soared. And thank heavens the courier service was admirably maintained right through lock down, I shipped ever increasing numbers of bedding items. And once I gave it some thought, it began to make sense.
Lock down gave many people the opportunity to spend more time in bed. After all, working from home negated the need to get up early to get the commuter train to the office and that saved hours in the day – time that could be spent having a lie in. It must have been during those additional bed hours that people probably realised that their bedding was rubbish and needed upgrading. Of course being an e-commerce supplier of bedding, we were just a click away.
After month 3, my previously bulging stockroom started to look lean indeed and I was obliged to begin taking items out of stock as the courier van took the last precious duvets, pillows and mattress covers away. As luck would have it, this was just at the time our Italian manufacturing partners were reopening after their months of lock down. It was remarkable how quickly they got back up to speed and cleared back-logged orders, including an order from me.
So a few weeks ago, I welcomed the arrival of the big brown boxes from Italy but was acutely aware that much of this consignment never saw the stock shelves. Much had been pre-sold and went straight out to customers, so a big thank you to those who waited patiently for their bedding. It is so true that the best things in life are worth waiting for.