From local country store to global reach
Jumbled - the homewares store founded by Pip Brett six years ago, has just been recognised with the Honouree Award at the Global Innovation Awards (GIA) in Chicago.
Pip’s store was selected from a field of 30 other homewares retailers from all over the globe, each representing their respective nations.
To be named one of the five honourees was a dream come true, said Pip, who’s innovative store concept shows the possibilities technology can open for country retailers.
Pip first opened her clothing store Iglou 13 years ago and then the homewares store Jumbled followed in 2012. Then three years ago, she purchased and renovated the old Masonic Hall with her builder husband Nick Luelf. Today, The Sonic, as it is called includes Pip’s two businesses as well as a leased coffee kiosk. The business is thriving at a time when many traditional retailers are struggling.
Pip said these days it is essential to be more than just a bricks and mortar store.
“You've got to be online, have events, create a community,” said Pip. “You've got to sort of be everything and pretty much every one of the five gia winners had a cafe or restaurant or something in their space… I think you have to be more than what you used to have to be.”
Pip began selling online through her Jumbled website fairly early on, but said her approach was fairly haphazard at first and not always worth the effort.
“It was very basic. Every time I sold something, I had to manually pull it off the website and try to work out how to pack things and send things, things would break or shipping would cost more than the product — you’d win some, you’d lose some,” she said.
Changes in technology have greatly eased the sales process and with the help of social media, Jumbled’s online sales have grown to represent nearly 50 per cent of their turnover.
“We've been sitting around 27 - 40 per cent for the year before, but now we are getting closer to 50. Online, at the start, it was just the cream on top. if it is a quiet day in store, a quiet day in town or it’s raining, I just thought online was a nice way to boost your day,” said Pip.
“With social media, you can reach so many people world-wide. I post something and I see the sales come through straight away. I think we are nearly at 80,000 followers in Jumbled and that's amazing! With social media you can reach a much larger audience, so you are not so dependent on what's going on locally.”
Building an online community of 80,000 people does not happen overnight and Pip puts as much effort into the look and feel of her online presence as she does the presentation of stock in her store.
“Your online presence, your social media, your bricks and mortar and your events and everything has to have that same feeling, look, voice, personality… When you order something online, when you open a parcel or read the email you get, hopefully you will get the same personality and voice that we'd be using to you over the counter,” said Pip.
“If you can get them all working the same, then it is very powerful. It is time consuming, but it is worth the time putting into it.”