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Business in Lockdown: “We have had to find our own routes to retail”

Bespoke 77’s Mark Tomlin on exploring new opportunities and collaborations during lockdown.

All this week, will be catching up with a selection of licensees across key categories to ask them how their businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 and what conversations the industry needs to be having to aid recovery.

Today: Mark Tomlin, md, Bespoke 77 Innovations.

“We saw a huge spike in demand from online customers through our ‘Pick and Pack’ operation, such as Carluccio’s Italian Larder, Vytronix & Bespoke77.

We have been dispatching up to 8,000 packages per week. Our warehouse is large and the team have been able to support our clients safely by socially distancing and following government guidelines with anti-bacterial cleaning and hand washing.

Business with licensors has been fine, but from a retail perspective, the shutters have come down. We have had to find our own routes to retail and explore some new opportunities and collaborations such as a grow bag range with Spear & Jackson.

I think lead times will be a challenge; we have recognised this and have more local sources but will retail pay for this? Minimising the carbon footprint comes with a cost. The quality is superior but are we all prepared to pay? We should be. It’s going to take time before the public feel safe returning to public areas to shop. Lockdown has introduced a generation of internet shoppers and I wonder if this will strengthen the desire to continue to shop from home.

Conversations we were having prior to lockdown are now more important than ever. Innovation, working partnerships, superior quality, long lasting, sustainable, desirable and a fair supply chain is our future.”

This feature originally appeared in the summer 2020 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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