Why we're choosing to reassess our business model...
Since announcing that we are closing our Harrogate Store many of you have asked why. It's not been an easy decision to make (especially in the aftermath of our lovely redesign and appearing on BBC Interior Design Masters) but we know it's the right one. The thinking behind this decision is now shaping the steps we take forward and the ways in which we work.
There are three pretty good reasons why Bricks and Mortar, as much as we love it, just aren't a part of our journey right now. But never say never.
1. Bricks and Mortar retail is tough right now
Closing our doors during Covid was hard and sad but our website flourished and we relocated to a new warehouse outside of the lovely market town Otley in West Yorkshire. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that running a sustainable and profitable retail business since Covid has continued to be a challenge though.
Reopening the shop was full of expectation, desire to see our customers again, to interact, engage and sell - you know that face to face, human to human selling thing. The high street has changed though, our buying habits and how we manage our time have changed and we have to react to those changes. That's business!
We have always loved having a shop but this shop isn't it right now. We wish there had been more room for manoeuvre with our landlord, but there wasn't at this point and after Covid and the way things have changed, it felt like another long term contract we was something we couldn't commit to right now.
2. We want to ‘do retail’ to the best of our ability
We love running our online business, but it doesn't run itself and we want to provide the best service that we can to our customers. This has given us time to take a step back and think carefully about how we do that. To focus on what's important to us and what works. To avoid overstretching ourselves and making decisions on the basis that ‘they make us feel good’. I mean, those parts are the best parts but they don’t pay the wages on their own. In order to do this, we need to pause, reflect, re-evaluate and respond.
The explosion of internet shopping as a result of Covid and the challenges brought about by Brexit, mapped against the fact that our expectations as consumers on online retailers have risen dramatically, means that we all have bit of a job on our hands.
And so we consolidate and we reflect. We plan to continue to deliver the best products at the best price with the best possible human touch. Simples.
3.To learn and to grow
As we close the store in Harrogate we look to venture wider, to be where our audiences are and to work out where and what that looks like. To kick things off, we are about to launch a concession scheme and our pop-ups kick off this Autumn so do look out for us!
We want to collaborate more and we imagine the future of Westmorland reverting back closer to its origins as Heaton's.
If you want to know what we are up to we will be focussing on our brand image, upping our engagement game, continuing to build our efforts to minimise our impact on the planet, whilst ensuring that we continue to deliver our amazing sheepskin products to people just like you.
We have already started working with partners to make these ideas a reality and we look forward to launching them soon. And so, we are having a moment of reflection and change and we hope you’ll enjoy this journey along with us!
If you have any other questions send us an email to email@example.com and we’ll answer them as best we can.