From our Webinar Series
These are extracts from the latest 'Consumers & The Pandemic' a Live Webinar hosted by Elle Moss, Drew London's Founder & CEO, as part of a series of open discussions with brands, leaders and managers to discuss how they have adapted and thrived through the crisis.
Topics covered in this episode:
- Business plan pivots from B2B to D2C;
- Getting to know your customers, first hand;
- Furlough and steering the ship alone;
- Thoughts on the future;
This webinar included the following guests’ speakers:
Emmy & Dickie Higgins of Emmy London
Launched in 2004, Emmy London is a luxury brand of beautiful, bespoke hand-finished shoes and accessories. Emmy London’s stunning boutique can be found in Chelsea and an e-commerce website that offers their products, globally.
Bronwyn Lowenthal of Lowie & Miss Pom Pom
Bronwyn is the owner and creator of two very established brands; Lowie, founded in 2002, a sustainable, handcrafted women’s fashion brand, with stores in Herne Hill and Crystal Palace alongside an e-commerce website. Miss Pom Pom is a brightly coloured knitwear brand, with a newly created beachwear collection!
Richard Canterbury of Love Taste Co.
Launched from a stall in Borough Market in 2005, Love Taste Co. now boasts a range of over 40 flavours of premium frozen smoothies and shakes, supplying cafes, restaurants, bars and gyms globally (96 countries and counting). Sold through various wholesale channels and online retailer: Ocado.
This very special webinar brought together three founders of very established consumer brands:
Richard of Love Taste Co. and Emmy and Dickie of Emmy London are both long-term clients of Drew London (15 years and counting). We partner on all things creative, from brand to websites. Their success is something that we are passionate about (as with all of our clients!) and to be able to help them pivot through the pandemic is something that we're immensely proud of.
As the pandemic took hold, and lock-down was initiated, Emmy closed her Chelsea boutique (temporarily) and quickly set up fulfilment within her North London home, with Dickie at her side to implement various web tools to increase their presence online.
Bronwyn repurposed her Chinese manufacturers to rapidly-produce and supply facemasks. Now, as shops reopen, the Lowie team is offering customers 1-2-1 personal shopping. April/May recorded their best ever online sales.
Richard, of Love Taste Co., had an immediate drop of 90% in B2B sales; He rapidly pivoted to sell his smoothies D2C on Amazon and his e-commerce website.
The full recording is available here, however, due to technical issues (it’s not your fault Zoom) the recording is pretty rubbish!
Richard - pre Pandemic said “we had lots of NPD and America getting on board, we were all guns blazing… and then COVID happened. COVID has focused the mind: The B2C idea that had taken 2 years to plan which we then turn it around in 6 weeks! We now sell online through our own website.”
Furloughing staff moved Richard to be right at the coal face again, a really motivating experience.
Elle said, “As an agency, we’ve put our clients; the founders, front and centre of their brand and marketing”.
Richard “I’ve found it fun and refreshing to be back in front, good has definitely come out of it. I’ve realized that I’d become too far away from the operations, I need to find a way when things come back to normal to be more involved!”
Dickie talks about business pre the pandemic “our business plan had just been signed off and we were accelerating our B2C plans. The market vanished with the disappearance of Weddings, Horse Racing and Social Events which shifted our focus to accelerating our other plans and getting connected to our customers. The pandemic helped validate the plans!”
Emmy said “being back in contact with our customers has been a really useful experience, getting first-hand feedback from them; why they love our brand, the detail, the comfort and the journey. It’s really positive getting to know them and it’s something that I want to take forward”
Emmy’s customers can now book a virtual face-to-face appointment, which has provided much-needed revenue, allowing the brand to survive.
Email communication became really important, liaising with the customers taking the learnings that Emmy is experiencing “now we have the ability to promote the fact that we can have a face-to-face virtual appointment all over the world. It’s opened up our market and allows us to really deliver what they want”
Emmy went on to say “Until you have to use them (as in the tools such as Slack and spreadsheets etc) you don’t really have the proof that it works. The change in how we work now has been forced upon me which is a really good thing!”
Emmy also admits that she didn’t know how to pack up a pair of shoes and book a courier - “guess what, it’s not that difficult!” great learnings and lots of opportunities to streamline.
Bronwyn said “I really enjoyed getting off the hamster wheel and reflecting on the business.
Swift pivot move, setting up craft webinars to teach skills. All business owners like to be busy, and constantly plan.” As soon as lockdown hit, Bronwyn cancelled all digital marketing budgets, however, a mere three weeks later she reinstated the marketing which drove massive sales, so much so that it was their best month ever!
Bronwyn added “having all points of the purchase process including order management and fulfilment joined up. All items are currently, and historically in different places. I now want ONE place which I think will take a 1/3rd of the time in the future. It’s all about streamlining and using tools that are readily available; we just hadn’t utilised them until the pandemic hit”
What does the future look like?
Bronwyn has seen the future first hand “Having a workshop, fulfilment and the head-office all in one place will speed up the process and ultimately help us make more profit! I don’t feel like I need to take over the world, but it’ll help me grow as a business”
Emmy openly states: “The first thing to tackle is to integrate the sales channels - to put into practice what we’ve learnt from the virtual appointments, delivering them digitally through the website. I’m going to make sure that my CEO role is efficient and effective! This whole experience has reignited my energy and passion for the business. I feel like I’ve got my creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit back! I now need to apply that to the team - and encourage other people to have a similar approach.”
Richard added “Just like you’ve all said; I’ve also got my mojo back. I feel positive and optimistic about the future with some new products in development such as soups and a new shakes range. The pandemic has also given me the time to apply for the B Corp certification which I’m really grateful for.”
Great question from the attendees: Do you think that your business will face more or less competition going forward?
Dickie stated “The future is going to value the choice we can offer, alongside making something custom to order! Ultimately the customer gets EXACTLY what they want. I don’t doubt that the big brands will try to do this too, but we’re small and agile so we’ll be a quicker proposition”
The final word went to Bronwyn “People want to shop locally, and support brands with a face. I’m helping to tell our story using IGTV and delivering live stories! The pandemic has helped us to get in touch with our customers - online. I mean… who’s going to want to go to Oxford Street and get on the tube… no one ever!”
Our personal thoughts on their journeys:
Having witnessed first hand the agility and bravery of our amazing clients and the ways they have made rapid, large business decisions which have guided them from numb fear to fighting fit has been an inspiration. In our humble opinion, matched with over the 15+ years of running a business that helps support startups into stable enterprises, true entrepreneurs of this world see even the ‘dark times’ as an opportunity for growth.
An opportunity to do things differently.
An opportunity to not just survive, but thrive.