ASK THE EXPERT WITH WHITE RABBIT CHOCOLATIERSThu 7th May 2020
I originally wanted to write an escapism piece, some chocolatey inspiration to provide people with an imagination holiday for troubled minds, but asking around there is one thing people want to know from me at the moment - “how is business?”.
Obviously, the timing of current affairs was unfortunate for chocolate with lockdown being introduced just three weeks before Easter, typically the busiest three weeks in a chocolatier’s calendar rivalled only by Advent. With no big chocolate giving holiday right up until Halloween now, chocolatiers rely on the income from Easter to help ease them through the warm summer months when people are more likely to want ice cream, or perhaps some other treat that won’t melt in the Sun!
Due to the critical timing, chocolatiers were forced to adapt, and by offering online and postal services many businesses were able to recoup some of the losses from not having a physical space to shop in. This affected businesses big and small, with big businesses having the advantage of already having the set-up to scale their online operations but the disadvantage of having much bigger stockpiles of produce to sell during their peak season.
Chocolate does have a relatively short shelf-life, especially the hand-made kind, so by halting production of products, ramping up online orders (ours was up 1000%!), and innovative solutions such careful local delivery of the most fragile items, the worst of the damage has been mitigated and none of my friends in the industry are out of a job yet.
The Government's furlough scheme has allowed us to provide financial support and job security for 12 local families and with their help White Rabbit will open as soon as possible, to start providing a little bit of bliss to our customers once again.
During this time I would like to thank everyone, from my patient and understanding staff, my regular customers that I now haven’t seen for weeks and miss dearly, to our community that kept us busy in the run-up to Easter playing their part. There is an African proverb, “if relatives help each other, what evil can hurt them”. By acting together as a community and nation we will always persevere.