Yesterday we opened the doors of Last Night I Dreamt Contemporary Jewellery for the first time in months. I felt the nervous butterflies like I was going back to school but it also felt so good! I’ve missed so much of what having my own jewellery shop brings to my life...my customers popping in with a coffee for me, sharing their stories, crushing on jewellery together. I’ve missed seeing my jewellery designers, creating my quirky “Becca styled” jewellery displays and playing with jewellery in the boutique. One of the reasons I felt nervous reopening is that we do not know what we are returning to post lockdown. I’ve already come to hate the term finding “the new normal.” I quite liked the old normal thank you very much! So how will shopping look now?
During lockdown I read an article by champion of the British High Street and shopping guru, Mary Portas. In the article she states “many shops will be destroyed by the pandemic’s impact on business. But, those who did the right thing will reap the benefits.” Read the rest of the article here.
Pre lockdown our nearby city centre, Nottingham was losing a long list of big retailers. French Connection closed earlier this year and since COVID 19 several big-name retailers have fallen into administration. Portas points out that the failures of Warehouse, Oasis and Cath Kidston did not go unnoticed. With the once-thriving Bridlesmith Gate full of empty units and shops popping up and closing within a few months, I wonder what the future holds for city centre retailers in Nottingham, which in a recent Nottingham Post article was described as becoming an “empty city.” I’m convinced that it will be places like Southwell that will thrive and come out of lockdown stronger. For many the thought of queuing in a city centre and venturing much further than their own community high street fills them with fear. Never has it been more important to celebrate our high street with all it has to offer.
During lockdown, we have had to reinvent our business and adapt. I’ve loved the creative challenge of coming up with new ways of selling to our customers. We have tried to make our customer service stand out and offer the most personal and exceptional service as possible. Our reviews from lovely genuine customers on google and Facebook during lockdown speak for themselves. We’ve offered handwritten gift notes, hand deliveries, next day deliveries and all packaged with some of the Last Night I Dreamt magic. We’ve had our PICKMEUP10 discount, ran giveaways, launched a podcast (listen here), welcomed guest bloggers (read Cordelia Hearts blog here and Claudia Bradby’s blog here) we’ve had fabulous lives with MakeupbyHelenRose and Claudia Bradby As Portas says “I do think that what will come out of this is memories of the businesses that helped us through it...and I think those memories will shape our decisions in the future. That support you have for businesses that were there when you needed them, and were behaving well...that emotion goes deep.” Several customers have thanked me for my positive posts on Instagram and Facebook during lockdown. I’ve tried with every ounce of creative energy within me to make this time a blessing for my customers. What’s been interesting is how people have shopped. People have been sending little pick me up gifts, writing notes, choosing brands like Mishky with their positive words and Estella Bartlett to show their love. People have been shopping with their hearts. My hope is that people won’t forget how Last Night I Dreamt responded during this crisis. We have our own little Nottingham Jewellery Quarter right here in Southwell. No queues. No stress. Wonderful personal service in a beautiful town.
I’ve been struck by a few independent businesses that have adapted creatively and that I believe will go onto thrive long after this crisis. Locally, the Old Theatre Deli have reinvented their sister shop, The Old Shop on Eastthorpe and sold fresh produce. When you couldn’t get a bag of flour anywhere, The Old Shop provided this. Their new Larder takeaway service offers beautifully fresh homemade salads and cakes and coffee. Homebake on Queen Street has been as busy as us in lockdown and delivered hundreds of baking kits. Helen continues to overwhelm me. Gigil and Bloom created pick me up bunches of flowers that people went mental for during lockdown. The peonies were immense and cheered me up when I needed it most. Mr & Mrs Fine Wine have been delivering wine throughout this crisis (yayyyyy!!!) and like Home Bake and Last Night I Dreamt, super busy! Soak went online during lockdown and provided awesome soap and bath related products to all of their customers and Real Clothing has been hand-delivering clothes and offering FaceTime appointments throughout. I’ve named just a few examples of creative businesses that I have been proud of during lockdown (there are many more who I love - you know who you are!) but the strength of Southwell during this crisis will be the very thing that will possibly see it fare better than struggling city centres such as Nottingham. Mary Portas describes creative businesses like the ones mentioned as “local disrupters...They are the ones who have learnt from this and they won’t go back.”
As we turn our attention to reopening we’re forever dreaming up fresh ways for you to shop with us. From our new online appointment system (coming soon!), to our easy to use CLICK & COLLECT service, to our gift of our exclusive Last Night I Dreamt bag with your purchase when you spend over £50. We are reopening with newness from Amai, SVP, Phine and new brands Rachel Entwistle and Motley so now’s a lovely time to shop with us + you get a gorgeous LNID bag so you feel fully part our tribe. Shop now! We will of course continue with all phone and FaceTime consultations for those who are shielding. Whatever you’re circumstance we will adapt and work with you! We will continue to bring your fresh content with our Podcasts and Blog posts and have some exciting collabs coming up with Alex Monroe and V by Laura Vann. Change is scary but it’s how we adapt to change and creatively responding to adversity that I think Mary Portas is referring to when she talks of which retailers will survive.
Thank you for supporting Last Night I Dreamt during lockdown. We maybe one of the smaller Nottingham Jewellery Shops and not a jewellery shop in Nottingham town centre (for which I am so grateful for) but we are mighty and have the most wonderfully loyal customers. As Mary Portas predicts shopping is going to become “hyper local” and Southwell will reap the rewards of that. I couldn’t be prouder of Southwell right now and I love how perfectly placed my shop is in our fabulous town. Now more than ever we hope that you will appreciate the Southwell High Street, it’s beautiful independents and wealth of creative businesses. Shopping locally, or driving to a gorgeous town full of independent retailers (and avoiding the Primark queues!), has never been more important so let's ensure Southwell thrives as we venture out of lockdown.
Discover our NEW TEMPORARY OPENING TIMES here
Images by the lovely Anna at Pear & Bear Photography