There’s nothing better at this time of year than a good cold snap. Not too wet, mind you, but nippy enough to drive the customers into the stores in search of a good pair of cashmere lined ponyskin gloves or a scarf. One of the peculiarities of our trade is that we rub our hands with glee as others rub theirs with cold.
I was reminded of this as we took delivery of logs for our wood burning stove in the Crystal Palace store. These are supplied by a local ‘character’ called Lord Log. They do make the shop very cosy and customers love to warm themselves up by standing in front of it.
Its now over a year since we opened the Crystal Palace store and there’s a real feeling of having been adopted by the community. Many regulars just drop in to chat to my manager, Nuala, and although we’d all prefer it if they bought something, it’s still a good feeling to be part of something. As I write this, we are tantalisingly close to opening our new store in Blackheath.
As ever, it creeps one day behind followed by another, but it looks beautiful. Here, too, we’ve attracted a great deal of interest and curiosity from the local community. The Blackheath Society and other groups are following our progress closely, monitoring our restoration of their much loved Edwardian shop front. My builders have had to keep the shutters down as they were being constantly interrupted by ‘what’s the shop going to be?’ and ‘you are keeping the curved windows, aren’t you?’ Hopefully this is a good sign and their interest will translate into sales.
The delays have meant that we are opening perilously close to Christmas. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one, though probably nerve shreddingly late. If so, then it will cap off a good year; new store opening, trading well up, license in India close to signature and winning Menswear Brand of the Year.
I’m a little old to visit Santa in his grotto, and might well find myself caught up in Operation Yewtree if I tried, but if I did, I’d ask for just one thing.
A nice cold winter.