Well, it’s been another funny old year hasn’t it? We are incredibly fortunate to still have a business after the stresses and strains of Covid-19 and the huge (and ongoing) effects it’s had on the economy.
Some of our largest customers, such as holiday parks, theme parks and the hospitality industry were severely affected, which of course had a knock on effect with our business. It has been great for us to see things start to get back on their feet, and to reconnect with some of our past customers as they geared up to make the most of reopening with new restrictions in place.
We stepped out into the big wide world this year, attending our first ever trade shows! We thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Devon County Show in July. It was great to see so many happy faces enjoying their day, and having the opportunity to talk to so many people about what it is we do, and in case you didn't know, it's not just Giant Deckchairs any more!
We also attended the South West Home and Garden show, where we met some familiar faces who also exhibited at the Devon County Show. It was a different experience to the county show, but proved a great chance for me (Bonnie) and Ben to gain confidence in selling our products directly to the public. We built all our display stands ourselves using recycled joists from our warehouse renovation and poles that weren’t quite up to standard for our Giant Deckchairs.
It was lovely hearing how reminiscent people became when seeing our deckchairs, talking about their memories of beloved family members relaxing in their trusty deckchair.
Work has progressed on the warehouse, with the main structures in place for each section of the business, new wiring and lighting has also gone in too. It’s achingly close to being finished, so as soon as it is, we will don our red coat and give you the official tour!
After seeing a post on Facebook for a local charity looking for space to run their Christmas campaign, we welcomed the Baby Bank Network Exeter into our warehouse in October. Alongside the other work the charity does, they also provide Christmas gifts for Exeter families in need, to help ensure every child has a present to wake up to on Christmas morning. It has been lovely meeting the dedicated team of volunteers, and seeing the incredible generosity of our local community who donated toys and gifts to help out over 350 families this year. We also made it to the local news! (You can watch the full video on our Facebook page).
Our side hustle, Heck Yes! Designs has been going from strength to strength as we launched new products, including our wooden cut out shapes of various hand gestures, along with lightning bolts and swallows. We also released new sizes of our super popular ‘paint your own’ wooden letters. They are now available to buy in sizes from 5cm up to 50! There is lots of great inspiration on our Instagram page from lovely customers who have shared their creativity.
We said a sad farewell to two members of our team Lee and Alex, who have left for pastures new. We wish them the best of luck with their future endeavours. Ben and I are running the show these days, and are discussing the recruitment of some new team members, so if you’ve ever wanted to be part of the gang, we’d love to hear from you.
We look back on 2021 with gratitude for lessons learnt, and a head full of ideas and opportunities for 2022.