As we’ve just had our relaxing Easter break, we thought we’d share some of our experiences in trying to adapt our offering to a holiday such as Christmas and Easter as well as trying to cater for the general seasons. Over the years, we’ve tried most things at Artisan and had spectacular failures, as well as some successes worth sharing. Overall however, we have found it very hard to get right.
Let’s start with the big one; last year we tried really hard and launched the Artisan Christmas hamper. Our team spent hours lovingly crafting these by hand to make them as beautiful as can be. They were all wrapped in clear plastic so you could see the goodies inside and sat on a base of torn up coffee sacks to give a really nice authentic look. We had to decide how many to make and with three shops we settled on 45 (15 per shop) as we believed that after all our hard work they would fly off the shelf. The meeting after Christmas was a slightly depressing one as we went around the table asking how many had been sold and it turned out that Putney sold two, Stamford Brook four and Ealing only three. It’s been the same story throughout our attempts during Valentine’s Day when we put together a lovely little nest with chocolates inside and sadly only sold a few. Some things have worked however and that is a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam during Wimbledon and hot cross buns during Easter, which have both been a real hit.
So our advice is this – in our experience however nice you might think it will be to create seasonal products that are either special or interesting – this generally doesn’t warrant all the hard wok you put into these novel ideas. On the flip side, adding items or lunching ideas that still fit within your offering and don’t actually need much change can work. People don’t come into coffee shops to buy Christmas presents, they come in to buy your usual lovely offering so remember this when planning your next seasonal product and you might save yourself a whole lot of work for very little return.