Memoirs of a Retailer during a Pandemic
I never thought of myself as just a 'retailer'. I am a haberdasher. It isn't about selling STUFF. It's about getting the right stuff into the right hands. It's about making people feel good when they get dressed in the morning. It's about helping people express themselves and articulate their own personal style through their clothing and accessory choices. It's about creating an image for each and every client.
So what does a haberdasher do when a pandemic hits? What everyone else does...we wait.
The retail world was changing prior to the pandemic. Shopping malls were becoming ghost towns looking for a new angle; a new way to re-purpose outdated spaces. The consumer was changing as well. The same old formula of 'open your doors and people will show up and buy stuff' was simply not working anymore. The experts are talking about making shopping an 'Experience'. But I think the understanding of what that experience is about differs from person to person.
Where do we go from here? I see a return to the neighbourhood. A shopping experience that's about walking down the main street and having a relationship with the person from whom you buy your clothing and accessories. Maybe that person designed or made those items you wish to buy. I see young entrepreneurs opening shops in locations where rents have now come down to an affordable level. Those entrepreneurs will create shopping experiences that they would want to shop in - Creative, unique and inviting. In dark times creativity flourish. I believe out of all of this will grow a new respect and appreciation for people, and the local businesses they run.
We all need something to look forward to right now. And I am looking forward to seeing where our collective creativity will take us. Stay healthy.