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Blog Post: Retailer Reflections

As stationers prepare for non-essential retail to reopen, Vici Blenkharn, owner of stationery shop Artcadia, reflects on what she has learnt from the pandemic and how lockdown forced creative thinking and new approaches to business.

 

Whilst there is a new and justifiable whiff of optimism in the air at the moment, I wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the last 12 months.

 

At first came the trapping feeling of having our liberties stripped away - the torture of not being able to spend time with family and friends, cancelled holidays and countless birthday celebrations. Not to mention having our stationery shop forcibly closed and our main income source, bespoke letterpress wedding and event stationery, cancelled indefinitely. However, it didn’t take long before I started to take some pleasure in this new normal. A general slowing down, coupled with a keen and vested interest in achieving a life more wholesome. During this time (when I wasn’t preoccupied with trialling various banana bread recipes and chaotically home-schooling three feral kids) I was able to spend more time focusing on the future outlook of our brand. The free-time lockdown offered meant I could create fresh designs whenever inspiration struck and take time to consider what could work well for us moving forward, negotiating all the unknowns along the way.

 

With our bricks and mortar shop closed, we knew we had to swiftly move all our products online, to a new snazzy e-commerce platform. It was essential for us to temporarily move away from wedding and event stationery, instead working towards increasing sales in greetings cards and letter writing equipment. I had to create designs that really touched people, at a time when a growing number of us found ourselves reaching for pen and paper to communicate with our loved ones. Sales of greetings cards and letter writing paper were on the up, and we had to grasp this opportunity with both hands. We had a captive audience, keen to express themselves using fine stationery.

 

Thanks to the safety net of government support and the reactive dynamic shifts to online retail made by our wonderful stockists, we have been able to not only survive, but thrive throughout the pandemic.

 

We are now mere weeks away from reopening our Shrewsbury store, emerging jubilantly from what we hope is the last lockdown. While I imagine many of us will be eager to rush back to the fast-paced life that was taken from us all those months ago, I am certain there are many who will want to hold on to the new normal – wholesome, meaningful and slow living, where we embrace and cherish the handwritten word, something that no email or WhatsApp message can ever surpass. With the rekindled love for all things pen and paper in mind, I am confident the stationery world is set for a triumphant bounce back this year and I look forward to celebrating this success with industry peers and fellow retailers at London Stationery Show in October.

 

You can follow Artcadia on Instagram here and shop their collections online here.

Blog Post: Retailer Reflections

As stationers prepare for non-essential retail to reopen, Vici Blenkharn, owner of stationery shop Artcadia, reflects on what she has learnt from the pandemic and how lockdown forced creative thinking and new approaches to business.

 

Whilst there is a new and justifiable whiff of optimism in the air at the moment, I wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the last 12 months.

 

At first came the trapping feeling of having our liberties stripped away - the torture of not being able to spend time with family and friends, cancelled holidays and countless birthday celebrations. Not to mention having our stationery shop forcibly closed and our main income source, bespoke letterpress wedding and event stationery, cancelled indefinitely. However, it didn’t take long before I started to take some pleasure in this new normal. A general slowing down, coupled with a keen and vested interest in achieving a life more wholesome. During this time (when I wasn’t preoccupied with trialling various banana bread recipes and chaotically home-schooling three feral kids) I was able to spend more time focusing on the future outlook of our brand. The free-time lockdown offered meant I could create fresh designs whenever inspiration struck and take time to consider what could work well for us moving forward, negotiating all the unknowns along the way.

 

With our bricks and mortar shop closed, we knew we had to swiftly move all our products online, to a new snazzy e-commerce platform. It was essential for us to temporarily move away from wedding and event stationery, instead working towards increasing sales in greetings cards and letter writing equipment. I had to create designs that really touched people, at a time when a growing number of us found ourselves reaching for pen and paper to communicate with our loved ones. Sales of greetings cards and letter writing paper were on the up, and we had to grasp this opportunity with both hands. We had a captive audience, keen to express themselves using fine stationery.

 

Thanks to the safety net of government support and the reactive dynamic shifts to online retail made by our wonderful stockists, we have been able to not only survive, but thrive throughout the pandemic.

 

We are now mere weeks away from reopening our Shrewsbury store, emerging jubilantly from what we hope is the last lockdown. While I imagine many of us will be eager to rush back to the fast-paced life that was taken from us all those months ago, I am certain there are many who will want to hold on to the new normal – wholesome, meaningful and slow living, where we embrace and cherish the handwritten word, something that no email or WhatsApp message can ever surpass. With the rekindled love for all things pen and paper in mind, I am confident the stationery world is set for a triumphant bounce back this year and I look forward to celebrating this success with industry peers and fellow retailers at London Stationery Show in October.

 

You can follow Artcadia on Instagram here and shop their collections online here.

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