Nursery Today is here to help and aiming to connect the industry amid COVID-19. We questioned Jackoc’s (Tot-Lock) Managing Director, Eric Collins, to find out their business strategy moving forward.
How are you all, how is your team’s morale?
Luckily the team at Jackloc are well at present. Unfortunately we have placed some of our team on furlough leave due to a number of our markets closing under government guidelines. We have set up a WhatsApp group to keep everyone engaged and involved with business and social activities, which is working well. As we have e-commerce on our website we are servicing orders from that avenue and remain open to support the home & hardware sector.
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?
We adopted safe working processes in advance of the government intervention. We have safe distancing for any colleagues when they are present in the workplace.
Are you a company where some staff can comfortably work remotely?
Most of our work needs physical presence but some home working is possible.
How clear have you found government regulations so far? From a business perspective they have been clear, although on a personal basis the restrictions on what we can and cannot do in our personal lives has left too much open to interpretation and I see examples of the restrictions not being followed every day when walking our dog.
Do you feel the government is offering enough support?
I think the support has been positive, although the furlough rules could be a little more flexible to help improve colleague engagement.
What business strategies do you have in place to assist the continual smooth running of your business?
As all of our products are manufactured in the UK we are lucky that we are not exposed to overseas supply chains. We always carry a healthy stock of finished goods that has helped us ensure 100% availability during these difficult times.
Do you have any helpful advice or additional support you are offering your retailers?
We are remaining present and here to help in anyway that we can. It would have been the easy option to hibernate the business but we wanted to remain present and engage with customers needs and adapt to a changing market place. We are making sure to communicate regularly with our retailers and share both updates about the situation, as well as positive news and plans for the future when things return to normal.
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?
We have been able to bring forward the launch of our Tot-lock by Jackloc product designed for the nursery market. This is a pack of three Jackloc products which are suited for the home environment with children to help to prevent them from falling from windows.
What’s your online presence and social media set-up like? Do you plan on boosting this presence in the weeks to come?
We have a good e-commerce website, Facebook, Instagram and twitter account and I am very active on LinkedIn and we’re ensuring that these channels are regularly communicated through at these times, with more people being online than ever and looking for advice and things to do. We are using this time to promote reviews of Jackloc products and our recent Mother and Baby and MadeforMums award wins, as word of mouth and other people’s experience with the brand is so important.
How will you continue to drive awareness to your product ranges?
We invest in marketing and have chosen to continue doing so at this time, as now more than every safety in the home is critical for protecting loved ones, as well as to ensure the NHS has less unnecessary injuries to deal with. Regrettably I read of a very sad case of a child suffering serious injuries falling from a window in Croydon so we are working with partnerships such as the Child Accident Prevention Trust and RoSPA to promote why window safety is so important in the home.
How could Nursery Today assist you? – we’re here to help where we can.
At this time we’re interested, as I’m sure many others are, in hearing how “life goes on” for retail, and hearing positive stories of how businesses are coping. It would be great to hear some future plans from retail, and new ways that they’re engaging with their customers so that we can work to be a part of them too. With more time to engage at present, some kind of networking or podcast environment with others would be interesting, so that businesses can continue talking and engaging with new businesses in the marketplace during lock-down.