As both a retailer and an importer/wholesaler of goods from India and around the world – and running an urgent rice appeal in India that’s already raised £22,000 – Daisy Snow from Ian Snow has a broad take on the Covid-19 crisis. Gifts Today caught up with her from her home/work base in Devon

From their Devon farm, the Ian Snow team travel the world to discover characterful, ethical pieces for the home. The company was founded by Ian Snow, and is now run by daughters Daisy and India. As well as physical bricks and mortar shops, they also run a thriving wholesale business. We caught up with company director Daisy to discover how they’re coping with life in lockdown.

How are you?
We are all really well thank you. We are trying to make the most of this time by taking it as a chance to slow down a bit.

Are you managing to do any trade?
Yes, both our online websites are up and running. We have decided to temporarily stop our wholesale side of the business as with the current amount of people here it is impossible to physically dispatch it all. And of course both shops are currently shut.

How clear have you found government guidelines so far?
They are quite clear, I think everyone really just needs to use common sense in a lot of daily decision making, you really cannot expect the government to be able to lay out guidelines on every single part of daily life.

Delhi Fair 2024

Do you feel the government is offering enough support?
I think the government has acted quite well to be honest, and really don’t think anyone in the UK is really in a position to moan. There are not thousands of people starving because of this, like there are in other parts of the world, so it’s really a case of perspective.

Of course the schemes in place are never going to work for everyone, there are positives and negatives of all support given but looking at the economy on the whole they are absolutely limiting the damage as much as possible. People are still buying, there is not a huge sense of unrest within the general public.

For some start-up and fledgling businesses I know things are going to be tough; this absolutely has to be a time to make tough decisions to save what you can of your business. I think management of cash flow right now is more important than ever, and really spending money on only the essentials. The only thing I am not so keen on in terms of government support is the loan schemes, as I personally don’t really believe in borrowing and debt, and find it can be a slippery slope.

What’s your social media set-up? Are you finding it useful in connecting with customers?
We have a very engaged audience through our Ian Snow platforms. We of course have been connecting with our followers very frequently, there is a massive sense of community on our pages, a huge collection of people that equally care like our brand for people and planet. I have done a few face-to-camera videos/live videos and frequent updates – especially as we have been running an urgent rice appeal for people who have no food in India due to the lockdown and people have responded amazingly to it – we’ve fundraised over £22,000 in just over seven days. (You can find the fundraising linkHERE.)
Instagram: @iansnowltd 33k followers / @myakka_furniture 2k followers
Facebook: @iansnowonline 42k followers / @myakkafurniture 9k followers

What’s your online presence like? Do you plan on boosting your online presence in weeks to come?
We have decided to not really advertise at the moment because we don’t want to take on more orders than we can manage with such a small team working. We are continuing to add new products as and when containers arrive. One of our physical stores, Sunshine and Snow, also has quite a good presence on Trouva so we have been dispatching from that, additionally my sister who manages the store has launched her website a bit quicker than planned but she has been spending most of her time packing in the warehouse. It’s just a case of keeping all plates spinning.

What are your stock levels like at the moment? And what do you have in place for future stock?

I mean they are never enough but we have a few warehouses full, if needs be we can always pull stock from both the retail stores, We have got one more container arriving next week. We are ready to receive all orders again as soon as India is in a position to do so, so will just have to see.

How can suppliers help you?
For us predominantly being direct importers I personally feel it’s more of a case about how can we help suppliers at the moment. A lot of huge high street brands have acted extremely badly this last couple of weeks. It really is a time to show solidarity and for all companies to show compassion and act fairly in these times. It is of course a fine juggle between keeping your business safe and treating the people (staff and suppliers) involved in your establishment well also, and this really must be executed well and with great care.

How can Gifts Today help you?
I think it’s good to see content about how other people are managing, positive stories, advice and any articles making sense of government help available

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