Specialist Italian wine retailer and Brightpearl customer, Bat and Bottle, shines the spotlight on their small business as they take part in Small Business Saturday 2016. The independent retailer was selected to feature in the campaign’s ‘Small Biz 100’ which highlights 100 small businesses in the lead up to the big day.
Small Business Saturday is a non-commercial campaign, which encourages consumers to support and celebrate small, independent businesses. This year Small Business Saturday takes place on Saturday 3rd December in the UK and Saturday 26th November in the US.
After taking part in Small Business Saturday last year, Bat and Bottle knew it was an event they needed to get involved in again! This year, seizing the opportunity to go one step further and enjoy the extra exposure from Small Business Saturday 100.
Small Business Saturday seems to be making its mark and encouraging more people to shop with small, independent and local businesses with Small Business Saturday UK reporting. The report revealed that in 2015 shoppers spent a whopping “£623m with small business on Small Business Saturday, an increase of £119m or 24% on 2014”. Last year, Brightpearl customers saw a 55% increase in the US and a 16% increase in the UK on Small Business Saturday 2015.
We caught up with Emma Robson, co-founder of Bat and Bottle, to find out about what they’ve got planned for Small Business Saturday 100 2016, their advice for fellow independent retailers and her opinion on Small Business Saturday, as well as contrasting and possibly competing events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
How did you react to the news of being selected as one of Small Business Saturday’s highlighted customers?
We were delighted. It’s something really special and it’s an honour. There’s only 100 businesses chosen from all across UK and I’m thrilled that we were chosen to be one of them. I think the results have shown that something very remarkable is happening with 24% increase in shopping compared to last year. It’s a unique opportunity and we intend to make the most of it!
What do you have planned for Small Business Saturday 2016?
On the actual day, we’ll hold a Small Business Saturday wine tasting at our warehouse. There will be a few small Italian producers wines opened for people to try; we will tell the stories behind the wines, answer any questions and share our enthusiasm for the wines that we sell.
Beforehand, we’ve asked some of our wine producers to send us a short, personal video talking about one of their wines and a little bit about what they do. They’ve kept it to 30 seconds due to short attention spans. We’re putting them up on our YouTube as a mini-series called ‘From the Horse’s Mouth’ which will also be shared on our website and Facebook.
I’m also talking with our local council to see what we can do to encourage Oakham and surrounding towns to make something of Small Business Saturday so non-Rutland people might choose Rutland as a place to come to shop, especially around the holiday season. We’re such a tiny and beautiful county with some really nice independent shops so I hope that they too will join in with Small Business Saturday. Our county motto is “Multum in Parvo” which means “much in little” and that sums up our business as well as our county!
What do you hope to get out of Small Business Saturday 2016?
Obviously, an increase in customer base and sales is one of the most desirable outcomes. On a local basis, a little more presence and cohesion with the other independent businesses in the couple of towns surrounding us. We’re all so busy working individually and maybe with a bit of effort from us all and local authority figures, we can start to encourage more people to shop locally.
Do you have any advice for other retailers who are thinking about getting involved in Small Business Saturday?
Get on and register now! Don’t leave it too late to sign up. Register your business now, understand what the campaign can offer and put up the Small Business Saturday stickers in your windows to start promoting it now. The campaign doesn’t mention the holiday season as I think everyone has a phobia of starting too early but it’s a conversation starter to raise awareness and get people to think about shopping with small businesses.
What are the benefits of getting involved in Small Business Saturday?
I think for a long-established small business, it’s always good to have a new project that removes you away from your day-to-day comfort zone. When you start off as a new business, you’re full of all these great ideas and you experiment with loads of things to find out what works. When you’ve been running a business for 22 years, you can feel fairly certain about what works so it’s always good to have a project like this that makes you put your head up and say “let’s have a go at this”. In this case we’re tackling social media!
What is Small Business Saturday to you?
I think it’s a day where everybody who enjoys something a little special should be out on the high street, supporting small businesses and looking for something special for someone special.
In contrast, what is your view on discounting events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
I think the first time I came across Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I saw it as suicide by retail. January sales had already previously killed pre-holiday sales for many companies. We haven’t got involved in Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the past and we positively don’t have January sales. As a country, we’ve clearly become more materialistic with how much we spend. Last Christmas, I actually refreshingly found that people had slowed down on how many things they had to have and the UK as a whole seemed to slow down on manic buying.
Despite the fact that we know everyone wants a discount, our principal has always been to be a straight and honest business so we don’t put huge markups on products, to then discount. Our prices are very true, if we’re offering a discount it’s because we want to clear some space in the warehouse and we’ll stick to that policy until we finish our company.
How would you compare Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Small Business Saturday?
I’m trying to think of the imagery to visualize it… It’s J.K. Rowling’s dementor compared to a pocket full of love.
Take a leaf out of Bat and Bottle’s book and find out how your independent business can benefit from getting involved in Small Business Saturday. If you have any questions you’d like Emma to answer personally, please comment below!
Want to find out more about Bat and Bottle’s business? Read their customer story to find out how they’re using Brightpearl to improve efficiency and grow their business.