Nursery Today is here to help and aiming to connect the industry amid the Coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak. Today in our online special supplier interviews, we questioned Bebelephant’s Managing Director, Elliot Bishop, to find out their business strategy moving forward through these difficult times.
How are you all? How’s your team’s morale?
All well thank you. We are all London based so in the eye of the storm at the moment – but all ok, thank you.
How are you coping with staffing levels – ensuring staff are okay and that you’re abiding by government regulations? Do you have back-up plans?
As a company, we were working pretty much agile before this emergency. Everyone’s set up at home and things are going fine. I wish I invented Zoom!How clear have you found government regulations so far?
So far, all has been clear. We are fortunate in that our freight and courier firms are working as normal, as is our storage facility.
Do you feel the government is offering enough support?
I can only speak for ourselves, and yes – I think the Government stepped up to the plate. We are in unprecedented times and there are bound to be bumps along the way, but so far, I consider the steps the Government have put in place should protect many businesses.
What business strategies do you have in place to assist the continual smooth running of your business?
It is important for us to repeat the mantras of #businessasusual and #letskeeptalking. We are fully stocked and as mentioned earlier, implemented agile working some time ago so I am pleased to report its been as smooth as we could have hoped.
Do you have any helpful advice or additional support you are offering your retailers?
I think retailers have upped their game to answer the demands of this crisis. Those previously without a web presence – have embraced the 21st Century and gone online; those with an inferior web presence have enhanced their sites and those with an established and slick online presence will be fine. It is vital we have a thriving independent sector – the Government have put in place support so that smaller retailers have a real fighting chance to survive this crisis and I have every confidence we will all see this through and have a stronger sector for it. However, it is also vital that retailers keep abreast of newness with trade fairs looking more unlikely as the weeks go by. We are always available to chat to and supply our range on a low or no-MOQ to give indie’s in particular, the edge at this time – given they can get newness to market so much quicker.
Do you have any additional information or imagery of new ranges you could circulate to retailers to put onto their own websites should their bricks and mortar store have to close?
Firstly, I sincerely hope none of our retailers are forced to close shop in the longer term, once the lockdown ends. Secondly, we are here to support retailers with assets, newness and a full drop-ship facility as required. Most recently, we launched Tot-Lock by Jaclock – a range of window locks whose launch we advanced given the dangers of toddlers being kept indoors.
Have you currently got good stock levels to meet supply demand and the logistics in place to aim for smooth delivery?
We are fully stocked and our logistics are working 100% normally.
What’s your online presence and social media set-up like? Do you plan on boosting this presence in the weeks to come?
Our website (bebelephant.com) remains our shop window to the trade, with no b2c / eCommerce functionality. We use our social media (@bebelephant) to promote the brands we distribute and advertise where the product can be found. We have always been active across all social media platforms and only see this as increasing regardless of the present difficulties.
How will you continue to drive awareness to your product ranges?
Through a mix of trade press and online!
How could Nursery Today assist you? We’re here to help where we can.
Nursery Today remains the vanguard of our sector for news and crucially, newness. It is a vital line of communication between product developers, distributors and retailers whose role is heightened in times such as these. This initiative of supplier interviews is so helpful to us to get our message across – thank you!