Beira’s starting distribution strategy focused on online and pop ups including spaces at St James Quarter and The Egg in Edinburgh. Unfortunately growth in online sales was slow. The main challenges were getting Beira noticed online, and then being able to demonstrate the quality of the product and backstory well enough, to convert customers.
On the other hand, pop ups had performed well. Customers could feel and touch products, seeing the quality first hand and be educated on how they were made. Antoinette could see how its clothes looked on customers and gather invaluable feedback. It was easier to convert customers when face to face and sell additional items. By providing good customer service the business was able to build brand loyalty and increase the number of return visits.
Given its success, Beira decided the best next step was to find a shop of its own. The search had begun.
After several months, Antoinette hadn’t made any progress with her property search. She had no experience of renting commercial property, didn’t know where to look online or what the leasing process was and how much she should be paying. Agents weren’t forthcoming with information and didn’t understand her needs. And it was hard to get traction with landlords given it was Beira’s first shop and Antoinette couldn’t prove that it would be successful.
This is where Hatch came in. The first step was to optimise her property search. We created a listing showing Beira’s property requirement on the Hatch website. The listing showed the locations Beira was looking in, the store size it needed, as well as company information and photos. It was then advertised to agents who could see Beira’s property requirements and get in touch with Antoinette direct, with suitable options. Making it a 2 way search helped share the leg work of finding a property for her business.
We also created a specific alert for Beira on the Hatch website. Hatch alerts monitor all commercial property listing websites on a daily basis and when a suitable property came onto the market, Antoinette was notified.
As Antoinette had never opened her own shop, she needed guidance on what can be a complicated leasing process. We provided guidance via a timeline so she knew what to do and when throughout the leasing process. A landlord pack and other templates to help convince landlords she was the right tenant for them, as well as several 1-to-1 sessions.
Lastly, we provided Beira with our Affordability Checker tool to ensure Antoinette had considered the full cost of leasing a shop before she was financially and legally committed. The Affordability Checker tool accounts for both upfront costs in the way of solicitor fees, surveys, fit out, as well as regular ongoing costs like rent, rates, service charge and insurance.
Beira opened its first shop in Edinburgh in August 2022 and by the end of the first month it had doubled its original sales target. Since opening, Beira has seen an increase in online sales and numbers of returning customers. The overall turnover of the business is 427% up on the previous year.
Not only has the shop opening been hugely beneficial on sales but Beira has also seen significant uplift in its customer base as well as its social media following and engagement, which is great for the brand. Antoinette is now firmly on the lookout for her second shop in Edinburgh.