Joy Everley Stand in front of her store

Lockdown Experience article for BIRA

The British Independent Retailers Association asked me to contribute an article about our experience of Lockdown and the shift from bricks and mortar retail to online only. I thought I would also publish it here.

"The Joy Everley Fine Jewellers boutique thrived in Newburgh St., W1 for 22 years.  We were in the heart of busy, fashionable Carnaby and we loved it.  Customers constantly praised our displays, windows and personal service. The atmosphere was informal, luxurious and busy with crystal chandeliers, scented candles, good music and of course our own original jewellery collections.
Joy Everley Store Newburgh St
We have seen so many changes over the years, including the rise of online shopping and new shopping centres. Our cobbled street slowly changed from an enclave of independent designer shops until we were almost the last one.  As fixed costs rose annually and turnover slowly decreased we knew our time was limited.  Retail was already changing fast and many companies whose staff contributed to our audience were moving to less central locations; their buildings converted to luxury flats.  In March as everything closed down around us we made the decision to jump and negotiated an early release from the lease.  It was an emotional and exhausting time, but after several forays through the deserted streets we managed to empty the premises and set up the online business at home.
It's been hard work, but worth it.  The website sales have been much better than expected and by offering just as much personal service as before, albeit via phone and email, many more orders are coming in.  Without the responsibility and overheads of the shop, we can now direct more resources to marketing and spend time on creating interesting product images for the website, as well as beautiful jewellery.
I am feeling very positive for the future. Retail is changing rapidly and the public appear to be responsive to a clear website and independent business story.  It's up to us now to learn how to take full advantage of all the online resources available - Social Media, Pinterest, Google etc to promote and grow our brand."

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