The kids are back at school, the nights are drawing in and the mornings are starting (despite global warming) to be a little on the fresh side. This means only one thing for us retailers. Now we are not one of those retailers who bang out their Christmas stock in September, we try and hold out as long as possible, it's usually the half term holidays at the end of October that we eventually give in but I confess, our thoughts do turn to those of Christmas past and Christmas present(s) well before the clocks change.
Now way back in February we go to a trade show in Birmingham and order some of our Christmas decorations and believe it or not we have a customer who completes her Christmas list in March each year but our planning starts in earnest when the children go back to school in September. Starting with planning what we are going to buy, when it's going to be delivered and how on earth we are going to pay for everything. One of our issues each year is how we find enough space for everything from retro record players & record cases to gorgeous retro racing cars for the little ones. We bring in many new lines just for Christmas, special treats such as designer marshmallow, artisan chocolate or retro board games like Beetle or Pick up Sticks which make great stocking fillers and of course we stock up with masses of Cath Kidston, Emma Bridgewater, Ness and all our regulars.
So how do we create enough space for all the existing stock, all the Christmas gift lines and all the Christmas decorations, the truth is we don't really know how we do it ! We are off on Sunday to collect a new rather large shop fitting bought off Ebay yesterday (I hope it fits) and we have been moving furniture around the shop for weeks now, edging tables a bit to the left, painting walls and new trying to fit things into our newly purchased vintage suitcases. It will come together but we just don't know how.
If you can, please do support you local independent shops this year, Christmas is so very important to us retailers, we put a lot of work into it, so many extra hours over many months. We don't have the marketing departments, the marketing budgets or an army of casual staff to call on, we like all family owned business tend to do everything ourselves. So in the words of the story I read to our Children every year......Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.