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Retail


“We’ve established the trust that’s necessary to get an online shop to really work”


“Now customers can visit the shop and speak to us


personally, we’ve established the trust that’s necessary to get an online shop to really work,” Chris explains. On the subject of trends, he says: “We keep an eye on the


retail market, look at what other people are doing, visit design-led trade shows and get inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest, but ultimately we want to forge our own trends not follow everyone else, we try to avoid the obvious. “I want people to come to our shop to see new and


exciting things, and it annoys me when I go into shops and see the same old stock for months or even years at a time, it tells me that they’ve got lazy buyers. Berkhamsted has a good mix of stores but a lot of it is very traditional. White Mint has a strong contemporary focus so that gives us a good point of difference that complements what the others are doing rather than treading on their toes.” White Mint works with around 50 suppliers and makes


the most of its relatively small space with ingenious and attractive merchandising solutions. Some of those suppliers have been with them from the start, having spotted White Mint’s flair for retail. “We did trade fairs before we launched the website.


Spring Fair was our first ever trade show and we didn’t even have any proper business cards ready before we went. A lot of suppliers weren’t interested in talking to us because they didn’t know who we were or who we were selling to, so we actually had to sell ourselves as retailers at that show. “One or two companies did decide to give us a chance


though and they’ve been with us ever since. Jam Jar Lights was new like us and has always been really supportive of what we’re trying to achieve. Parlane was also great and willing to help. Another supplier we love is Temerity Jones, I always get really excited before going to visit the stand at exhibitions.


“Now when we go to shows


people know who we are and they’re actually waiting for us to arrive. We get sent VIP tickets from various people and it’s a whole different story” Revealing some of their ideas


for the future, Chris says “We want to expand this year and have two options. We’ll either focus on building up the website or will look at opening a second site, although this may take a bit longer to find the right place. We don’t want, or need, to rush things.” “Throughout 2016 we’ll be


holding themed events and keeping the merchandise fresh. We’re also rearranging the store layout and putting home interiors and lighting on the middle floor. Lighting is going to be huge for us and we’ll be working with Jam Jar Lights to launch a bespoke lighting service. We’re introducing a big neon range and more of the kitsch and contemporary lighting that’s already doing so well here”. All the indications are that we’ll be seeing a lot more of


White Mint in future, and not only because Chris will be making regular appearances in Giftware Review as our new columnist. For more information and inspiration visit the website:


www.whitemint.co.uk


January / February 2016 Giftware Review & Home Interiors 17


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