The blog will be our way of keeping you more informed about what's going on behind the scenes at snowhome. Kyle and I will post the latest news on new stock arrivals, design ideas, things we like and informal reports about what we are up to.
I know that early January can have air of gloom about after the glitz of Christmas, it doesn’t last long its just needs getting through. There’s plenty of stuff to look ahead to and get excited about in the year ahead.
On the business front one thing is starting to concern me though and I thought I’d share it here and hopefully gain some valued feedback from the people who matter.
I’ve been trading on Gillygate for 15 years this year, its always been home to an eclectic range of independent local businesses ( and still is ) but the prevalent trend seems to be that many of these businesses are finding it hard to make a living on a peripheral street in the city. Of course this has always been the case, over years businesses succeed and fail, it’s the nature of retail evolution.However, we have have lost a number of well established retailers on Gillygate over the past 12 months, the shops now sit empty, its a worrying trend, indeed it seems to be happening across the city and beyond.
Fortunately Snowhome remains viable and as we make plans for 2016 I began to wonder what it is that people want from a shopping experience these days ? Are shops necessary in the way that they once were? For many the internet has become the most convenient way to consume in recent years. As our trust in the technology expands and become second nature and the kids who have grown up with iPods in their hands become wage earners I expect that the percentage spent online as opposed to on the high street will grow more rapidly still.
A savvy shop keeper should therefore invest in smart technology, build a bigger, better website, rent a warehouse fill it will interesting stock and concentrate on logistics so products can be shipped and signed for the next day.Right? If it is right then the inevitability is that we lose more bricks and mortar retailers, the strong and the flexible survive.
My question is – what is it that you want to see from Snowhome in the future? Over the past 15 years its a question that I’ve never directly asked, just tried to second guess and gone with my instinct while trying to stay true to core principles. What is it that makes you want to leave the warm sofa and browse and buy from real shops ? or would you agree that the future lies in virtual shopping in which case would you be happy if snowhome was a web only business? What would you like to see more of ( or less of ) ? Should we be selling furniture, bespoke gifts, wallpaper, electrical goods, magazines, coffee, prints, products from emerging designers,offering evening classes, should we open a Snowhome bar ???…
…all just food (and drink) for thought. Snowhome remains open ended and adaptable. I genuinely thank all that have supported us and continue to do so, without loyal customers businesses simply cannot grow or develop.
Blogging at Snowhome has been few and far between recently, so I thought I would post a few products that we think will be useful during this surprisingly hot British weather!
The products we have chosen are some of our ice cube related products. The Brrrrr Ice Tray which is shaped like a polar bear and gives you 10 ice cubes in his 10 feet. Great for a nice big jug of juice in this sizzling weather.
Gin and Titonic reaches out to the gin drinkers, little ice bergs and mini Titanic’s floating in your gin and tonic. Fun and tasty!
Whale ice ball mold is a cute whale that will make one large perfect ball of ice which lasts longer as it melts slower.
Moving on from ice cube molds, Eau Good, the water bottle that contains a charcoal stick which helps take the nasty taste out of tap water that some of us just don’t like. Fill it with water from the tap and take it around the park with you, don’t let yourself get dehydrated!
Finally the Barbeque Stamp which will be very useful during this years BBQ season. Stamp your steak or burgers adds a little bit of fun to Chef Ramsey’s BBQ’ing.
Check out all the products mentioned and other products on the site at the link below!
Enjoy the sun!
Blogging was meant to be a way of updating customers with news and items of interest. It seems that we have abandoned our blogging responsibility perhaps in favour of Twitter and Facebook ( although we are not very prolific in these arenas either ! ).
So with a sense of guilt I thought that I should post a little review. Since last year we’ve been kept very busy with our little cyclists, the Tour de France really kicked off the demand and its been steady ever since. We are the importers and UK distributors of these small die cast cyclist figures and our bespoke painting service has proved to be very popular.
The OS map shades are another product that can be made to order for customers. We can make up the shades depicting any area of the British Isles using vintage Ordnance Survey maps. There are two sizes available and we will add the option to but from the website within the next few days.
Offering items of a bespoke nature gives us a point of difference which we believe is an important direction to follow. Independent and specialist shops need to retain a unique sense of appeal , by creating custom made products we are able to give the customer something that they couldn’t buy anywhere else. This is a service that we aim to develop and are excited to be offering a new in-store concession later this Summer, it will allow our customers to buy a range of products which are customised to order and hand made in York. More details to follow soon- won’t leave it as long before the next blog post.
As part of our shop fitting programme earlier this year we decided to introduce our own small range of sideboards. Angus worked with John Green who has designed a simple modern unit exclusively for Snowhome which is now available to order in three standard sizes and a selection of colours.
John worked to satisfy the Snowhome brief: the units had to be simple, versatile ( available in a choice of size and colour combinations ), well built and affordable. To achieve this he worked hard to maximise the yield per sheet and therefore keep costs down and minimise waste. The sideboards are built by a Yorkshire cabinet makers to a high standard and come assembled with solid oak feet, two adjustable shelves and a cable management hole.
Snowhome sideboards can be ordered in your own colour choice chosen from our palette of five paint finishes and oak veneer, there are thousands of possible combinations giving the opportunity to create a truly bespoke piece of furniture for what we believe to be a very reasonable price.
95cm long unit £545
120cm long unit £575
180cm long unit £745
Currently available to buy in-store only.
The finishing touches have been added to our shop refit and I’m really pleased with the results. It feels very fresh and showcases the new products very well, importantly it signals a new direction for us. The shop fit sets the tone for an even more carefully considered range of products, it means looking harder to find things which fit the bill.
Sadly this weekend also saw Johns final day at Snowhome. John has been working here for five years after leaving St Johns University where he studied design. As his final project he designed the Embrace table.I was happy to help John out with some of the basic development of Embrace and proud to be the first retailer of the very first production models. Embrace has gone on to be sold in some of the best design stores worldwide. John came to work in the shop part time after leaving Uni to support his continuing design practice after setting up his own brand John Green Designs, he’s been here ever since but as his own business has grown it has placed more demands on his time and he has now reached the point where he needs to spend all of his time managing things at JG Design.
I’ve been so lucky with my staff, they have all brought something to Snowhome and left their mark and legacy. From day one John has demonstrated a keen eye for detail and a hunger for perfection, flapjacks and microwaved ham salad sandwiches. There are so many elements of snowhome that John has improved and developed with technical know-how and practical skills including our website and recent shop fit, he has set the bar higher for many aspects of the shop. We have also worked together on product ideas and will continue to do this as part of the GreenSnow project. I am very grateful for all the hard work and loyalty that John has given to Snowhome and we will miss him but of course wish him great and continued success with his own brand, I look forward to seeing and selling more of his products in the future.
If you are in York please call in to have a look at the new look Snowhome, we will constantly be adding new things to our carefully selected range.
We were closed all last week while we spruced up the shop. As always these things turn out to be more involved, time consuming and labour intensive than you ever think they will be. We worked very hard and had some fun whilst we were doing it, its amazing what a small team can do when they all pull in the same direction. A big thank you to John, Kyle and Nigel for the long hours and graft.
Here are some pictures of the results of our 5 days work.
Snowhome will be undergoing a shop fit this spring to help keep it looking fresh. The shop will be closing for 6 days so we can paint, clad and shelve.
We will be closed from the Sunday 16th of March until Friday 21st ready for our re-opening on Saturday the 22nd March when we hope you get a chance to come down and check out our handy work.
The new shop fit also means new products, so we are currently running a sale on in the shop of some of our older stock with some big bargains to be found.