What trends are you seeing in the luxury children’s products market? How do you expect the market to change in the next few years?
People really love unisex products and items that have longevity so they often buy gender neutral clothing. I find parents want items that will last, are different and good quality, but at a fair price. Now more than ever sustainability is key and I think (and hope) that this will continue in the next few years.
How have you overcome the challenges of Brexit and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?
I am definitely still dealing with them, a lot of stress, worry and wine in equal measures to get through both! 2020 was a tough and unpredictable year, we saw a huge demand for online shopping. It was difficult to plan 2021 off the back of that.
Has the pandemic changed how you operate? If so, how?
I was lucky to have moved into fulfilment prior to the pandemic therefore still able to dispatch orders. We saw huge demand and had to move quickly to put new systems in place and to recruit a bigger team. The first lockdown was crazy, thankfully I had Diamond but I was doing the marketing, accounting, social media and customer service by myself. We have grown quickly and now have two members of staff, an amazing warehouse and a fantastic accountant for which I am so grateful.
We know how important packaging and the un-boxing experience is in 2021. How has Diamond supported you in your un-boxing ambitions?
Diamond really understands my desire to have eco-friendly packaging and where we can, no plastic. Our packaging is all cardboard/paper and recyclable. We also gift wrap as we realised people weren’t able to do so themselves during the pandemic.
How has Diamond Logistics supported your growth and the safe delivery of your products?
They have been amazing quite frankly. It is such a fast paced environment with e-commerce but Mandy Watkins-Smith, managing director at Diamond Logistics Bristol, and her team are always so fast to respond to queries and process customer returns quickly and efficiently. I have been able to put faith in them and grow the areas of the business that I need to. I am able to rest in the knowledge they are dealing with the logistics efficiently and with utmost care and attention.
What should retailers think about when choosing a fulfilment partner?
As with anything you have to get along with the team and make sure you’re a good fit. Customer experience is key, as is making sure orders are processed in a timely manner. We are all human and mistakes can happen so you have to work with a fulfilment partner which is transparent and vice versa. I really feel like Diamond has helped me grow my business in the time I have been with them, and it’s been a leap in the right direction for us.
Reflecting on the last year, what advice would you give to an emerging retailer of children’s products?
First and foremost make sure you prioritise a professional quality service over a lower price (particularly with accountants and fulfilment centres). Transparency is key in all that you do, whether that is with your customers or the professionals you partner with. ecommerce is super hard, competitive (particularly in this field) and ever changing so keep going and make sure you give yourself the credit you deserve. Sometimes it feels like you haven’t achieved anything but every little step is a move forward!