Living Oasis: Croydon plans dropped as Online Shop goes live

THIS WEEK has brought mixed news from Living Oasis with plans for the Croydon store placed on indefinite hold but a brand new “all singing and all dancing” online store launched in place of the previous holding pages at livingoasis.co.uk.

Christian Booksellers Convention 'Large Retailer of the Year' 2009

In its heyday, before the collapse of IBS-STL this time last year, Croydon was one of Wesley Owen’s flagship stores and went on to win the 2009 Christian Booksellers Convention ‘Large Retailer of the Year’ award. Unfortunately it appears that high rental charges mitigated against either CLC or Koorong taking on the store and attempts by Living Oasis to secure the lease fell through over the summer when a rival bidder stepped in. Plans to find alternative premises have now been shelved by Living Oasis.

No official reason for shelving the Croydon plans has been given but other sources indicate that the company, like so many others, is under increasing financial pressure: donations to support Living Oasis may be made via the new website.

Introducing the site, Andy Twilley, Director of Christian Life and Ministry at Nationwide Christian Trust, the owners of Living Oasis, explained that it has been “designed to provide the flexibility of internet shopping without undermining the viability of the retailers in the high street.” Alongside online sales, the site offers an in-store reservation service, an option to check stock levels of selected items in the branches, a list of branches and an events page.

The nearest alternative Christian bookshop for Croydon residents is In Tha House, Thornton Heath: www.inthahouse.com | @inthahouse1

Croydon Churches Forum: Living Oasis Update, 29 Sept 2010

Croydon Churches Forum: Living Oasis Update, 29 Sept 2010

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22 thoughts on “Living Oasis: Croydon plans dropped as Online Shop goes live

  1. Shame about Croydon. Not a surprise, but still a huge loss for the community.

    In it’s hay day, in the busy Christmas months, Croydon could turn over more than small (IBS-STL) branches would do in a whole year.

    Unfortunately, in spite of this, i’m still not sure it was ever self sufficient. As is often the case, phrases like ‘Flagship Store’ go hand in hand with ‘Loss-Leader’.

    I do have to say, well done on the website. I am very impressed. Although quite similar in look, I much prefer it to the new wesleyowen.com (and the old one), which is based upon the (apparently) bespoke, very mature Koorong system, not bad going, considering Living oasis have had to start from nothing, and have done so in less than 12 months. Credit to their technical team, Cunninghams EPoS Systems / Infinity Retail Management (who i noticed took out a full page ad in Christian Marketplace last issue). If they can do the same for my web-store, who knows, maybe they can win me away from my trusty Mac based LightSpeed system we are preparing to implement shortly.

  2. I must admit that when I see phrases like ‘all singing all dancing’ I do almost always expect to see dancing hamsters or the heineken bear pop up somewhere *grin*

    However given there aren’t any of them it’s still nice to see LO progressing forward as they can, though a real and great shame about Croydon indeed.

    Though can I just say that the addition of shop sites and ordering online for instore collection really isn’t anything new and it doesn’t in the end necessarily save from taking away from the high street presence although it is true that the online sales can help buoy up a chain – however the chain needs to remember to incorporate them as a central share rather than a competing shop, because as a seperate shop the online shop can become a slightly divisive problem – though LO through the care of Nationwide Trust seem to be fully on top of this problem.

    I have to say that of the two sites Luke mentions I actually prefer the look of WO but then stylistic likes are always an individual taste thing, and for me the WO one just looks less cluttered and easier on my eye, though it is true to say that the LO one does look to be trying very hard to give prominence to physical stores which is great to see.

    Looking at the LO site though does raise a question for me – I know charities can ask for donations with no problems at all, indeed they are doing it on the LO page for the shops, but can none-charities ask for donations to ‘help us keep a Christian presence on the High Street’?
    Any chance someone with a bit of nouse and more comprehensive legal understanding can figure this one out as I can’t but perhaps it’s something a few more small christian bookshops might consider if it’s feasible.

    • I can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t ask for donations: it’s no different to taxi drivers (to give just one example) taking tips. As long as you declare the income on your tax returns / in your accounts, why should there be any sort of problem?

      Is LO a charity anyway? Being owned by a charity (NCT) doesn’t automatically mean that LO itself qualifies as one. On the contrary in fact: charities set up trading subsidiaries precisely to insulate themselves from the risks that a trading subsidiary might expose them to — read all about it here:
      http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Publications/cc35d.aspx

      So LO — or LOL as they style themselves — appears to be a business asking for donations to support the business, not a charity seeking donations to support its charitable work…

      Historically NCT has been living well beyond its means:
      http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1096840
      which at a guess means LO needs to find its own two feet pretty quickly…

      • Phil, Given that bit about LO (or LOL as they call themselves – really?! lol) needing to find their feet it’s interesting then that they are looking to expand by 20 shops a year minimum! http://bit.ly/loexpansion //

        lets face it thats a lot of expansion and a lot of outlay – not including the project managers f/t generous salary and car there.

        Don’t get me wrong I am all for towns and cities where there really is no Christian bookshop presence in the locality having one, I pray regularly for this to happen and do my best to encourage, support and work with those who could have potential to start out and do such work in their own communities as a fair few could/can vouch for ;0)

        but I do find myself raising my eyebrows a little and wondering about this sort of empire building so soon, especially given some of the phrasing on closer inspection of their new website, especially the section entitled ‘Impacting the Community’.

        I do have to admit I consider it bad form to, in effect, bad mouth the competition on your official website especially when you’ve only been doing the job a year and not yet proved the long term sustainability of your own plan/vision, especially when it’s not necessarily an incredibly new vision and one that’s quite similar to what some indie stores have been doing for a few years like Illuminate in Shrewsbury for instance. One of the struggling stores they talk about, and yet one that doesn’t fit the naive view they themselves seem to have as to what the main ‘part of the problem’ seems to be and as to why Christian bookshops are struggling.

        Don’t get me wrong they say nothing on the site I haven’t said on here, on FB discussions at times, or in discussions with people, and i’m not meaning to be a hypocrite here (though as ever I do concede it’s possible I am one anyway) but I think there is a difference between discussing it on a forum and putting forward suggestions for how others can adapt/change to help broker a potential solution helpful to all involved in the work or using it as what could be seen to be a sidewise swipe against your competition, which is what having read that bit of the site it almost feels like – though I am sure it is totally unintentional and just an ill phrased and ill thought out section for a public and official website.

        I do admit I don’t take that section as aimed at me so I’m not arguing this fact due to a feeling of injured pride or as a rejection of change especially given it reads like something I have said anyway in forums or discussions and the whole sections negative statements are not, I think, something that can be levelled at me either in any way, shape or form – but I do nontheless think it’s just bad form to do it in the way and place they have and perhaps shows a strange and concerning hubris or just plain naivety.

        However as said this combined with the expansionist principle does nevertheless raise slight flags of concern.

        I appreciate they are looking to do good work and I fully support this, but I really think that there are some issues here and some areas of concern that perhaps need some consideration, openess, discussion and prayer.
        No one wants anyone to fail, in fact we all want to see Christian Bookshops flourish, those ‘struggling’ indies and other chains already out here or looking to join the fold as well as LO, but the question remains is speedy growth and a new super large chain really the way forward?
        Sure large chains can be community based – indeed isn’t that Waterstones new gambit, ethos and creed as they struggle a little against the internet shops?
        But is this really the best way forward or in time with this program does LO run the risk of becoming to Christian bookshops the same as Oxfam has to secondhand and small independent bookshops?
        Trading on Charitable status, looking to volunteers and removing the viability for existing shops in a local area due to these advantages. (indeed wasn’t that what Martin Latham of Waterstones thought was the only thing that made Christian Bookshops viable http://bit.ly/dbPh2y and wouldn’t it actually be a shame if it was true!).

        I’m pretty sure that’s not at all the intent but the potentiality is there and so for me the questions must be asked and considered.
        After all we all know I’m about local trade and local community and the whole messy situation of making that work and the ethics of real fair trade in all ways and growing our communities soundly and wholesomely so that our whole economy grows and we reach out to make a better global community that rests with it’s heart in the local always, after all strong local roots make for good growth outwards and upwards.

        Now where was that job app again and what was the closing date on it, hmm where’s me CV gone… 😉

    • Indeed, this is how we get around it.

      We sell a product, called “donation” and, in return, they get an actual product, a donation receipt.

      I think this is the best way to cover yourself. You are selling a product, it just happens to be one which is otherwise useless and who’s price is not fixed.

      As long as it then shows up on your tax return as a sale (you will need to pay VAT on it, annoyingly) then you have covered yourself legally.

      It is a different matter for charities, and, theoretically, the donation could also go to the NCT charity, earmarked for use in the Living Oasis division. This is how IBS-STL handled donations to Wesley Owen

  3. Hi Melanie, I’m no expert on the legal issues but I think a lot of non-charities get round them by selling ‘memberships’ or ‘sponsorships’. You normally get something in return like a certificate or a regular newsletter.

    • Just realised i replied to the wrong part, so here it is again… Phil, feel free to delete the above…

      ndeed, this is how we get around it.

      We sell a product, called “donation” and, in return, they get an actual product, a donation receipt.

      I think this is the best way to cover yourself. You are selling a product, it just happens to be one which is otherwise useless and who’s price is not fixed.

      As long as it then shows up on your tax return as a sale (you will need to pay VAT on it, annoyingly) then you have covered yourself legally.

      It is a different matter for charities, and, theoretically, the donation could also go to the NCT charity, earmarked for use in the Living Oasis division. This is how IBS-STL handled donations to Wesley Owen

        • As I’ve said, more people than you would realise are happy to give to keep you there.

          We’re not talking about huge subsidies, just £20 her, and £5 there.

          More often than not, it’s a “keep the change” type moment. We only get maybe £100 a month, but it all helps.

          A possible way around the VAT thing would be to “sell” a second-hand books at a non-fixed price (IE, the amount they want to donate), as books, second hand or otherwise, are zero rated for VAT, on the assumption that the donator will donate the book back to you as soon as the transaction is completed, but, to be honest, we don’t mind. Our accountant said it would probably be okay, but we find the way we do it easier, and less surreptitious.

  4. Pingback: Living Oasis: Expansion Plans or Chinese Whispers? More Questions than Answers « The Christian Bookshops Blog

  5. It is very easy to make comment (or criticise) without knowing all the facts. I would encourage people to get their facts right first, and then they woudl be in a position to make a reasoned comment.
    If you would like more info on any of the issues raised above, please contact me at Living Oasis, and I will happily give you the actual position.

    • Andy, I think you need to read your first line carefully and bear it in mind in light of what catalysted my last series of concerns, queries and comment.

      As to reasoned comment – I believe my comments to be reasoned, well reasoned and relatively well articulated and based on much experience both as someone who has been a chain retailer and now an independent retailer, as someone who has been both bricks and mortar based and also an online bookshop and internet manager for what was at the time a largish Christian Chain. As someone who is both a Christian Retailer and also Lincoln’s Only City Centre Independent General Bookshop.

      However I welcome any and all chances to speak directly and openly with those involved in the same mission and work as myself, So I shall make contact directly for you to respond to my comments and questions and garner the full facts so as in future my comments will be done with full knowledge – of course you can always email me directly at unicorntreebooks (at) aol.com

    • Thanks Andy. I’m always happy to correct any inaccuracies, as you know from our direct correspondence. I look forward to receiving further enlightenment…

    • Just following up on this, Andy — it’s over a week since I emailed my questions above to you. Your only response has been to the “de-Christianising” question followed by this offer to supply more info. Would be grateful if you’d supply that info, please…

  6. I must confess, like melanie and others here having reservations about describing most Christian Bookshops as “part of the problem”.

    We run “The Hub” to do one thing, and one thing well, to be a Christian bookshop. We certainly do have items that have “broader” appeal, like Willow Tree, or Fair Trade, but, speaking about shop floor space, over 90% is dedicated to unashamedly Christian products.

    For year one, we have, thus far, broken even, paid more or less everything that is owing our suppliers (it’s christmas, so a lot of things are on 90 or 120 days credit), our bank, the tax man, the council, our landlords and ourselves, and, as sales pick up as we approach Christmas, we may (dare I even say it) bank a little profit for year one!

    Our business is fully solvent, and, as of our last meeting with our accountant, if we sold everything, and shut up shop, could pay all of our debts, including directors loans, and walk away with a few thousand pounds profit. Not retirement money, but not bad going for a Y1 company either.

    I wonder how many other christian bookshops can say the same thing?

    I say this not to brag. We do not pretend to be anything special, but maybe trying to do too much, and neglecting your core market and calling is not so much a help, but an unnecessary distraction.

    My feelings on leading with coffee, and relegating books to an afterthought are well know, but, I do not think that you need to think outside of the box to get customers, you need to know your market, and make sure you are giving them what they want and need, rather than assuming un-related ancillary items will draw in everyone under the sun.

  7. Hi Luke,
    I agree with pretty much most of what you say and I think that we might ultimately be surprised at the number of indies that are indeed solvent and not struggling in the way many perhaps think – I think it’s as much a perception thing as anything else and I think many indies are trading largely at break even or just above it – but with nothing or not much left over – much like your have said.
    I think most indies, like you and me, pay their debts largely in a very timely manner and that if they folded they would go owing nothing and passing on no burden.

    The thing is this is to some a real struggle, maintaining a level of break even is great, trading at slightly above is fantastic, knowing if you liquidate your assets or sell on your business, that you’ll have money left after all is cleared is a real blessing too – but sometimes it wears a body down just to tread water and I think in some instances that is what people mean when they talk of struggling and I think sometimes this is what we lose sight of and perhaps what some aren’t realising.
    Putting in three times the work you did for the same reward is hard to take for anyone, if this has been going on for many many years then it is indeed tiring and definitely something that makes people look to see if they shouldn’t move on – indeed I know that this was a genuine factor in a number of Bookshop closures (Christian, general and secondhand shops)in recent years, not that they were having to close due to no business and no money but that the time and effort needed to maintain the level of business was becoming more and was impacting on the very real need to balance work and home. In some other cases it was a case of retirement, age and illness that made it all the harder. These are real struggles indeed. These are also not inconsequential things and to close the shop in these cases are never easy choices and those who must make the choice for family, health etc are not ever failures, but life successes of a different type.

    Me, I’m now on year 5 of owning my own bookshop, and like you I have traded solvently for all those years, yes even in ‘the Recession’ praise God!(though truth to tell it seems worse now we’re not in ‘the recession’ – lol)
    It began as a general bookshop when I first purchased it from the prior retiring owner, then we expanded to include crafts when my mum semi-retired and relocated her craft stall into Unicorn Tree, we are on year three now of being a christian bookshop as well – this came about when first Advance Books closed and SPCK under the new management couldn’t fill the needs of Advance customers and in some cases even their own on items such as requisites. WE became wholeheartedly and fully committedly a Christian Bookshop as well very early in 2008 when the SPCK closed and there was then no Christian Bookshop in Lincoln – we again took on new space and expanded the shop to allow a large clearly defined and dedicated section for Christian books & requisites. It is actually one of the spaces and area’s you first see when you enter in, there is no attempt to hide it and we find no problem having both side by side – indeed we find it a blessing to be able to do all the things we do – we find they are complimentary niches and the christian focus drifts very well into the crafts area etc. Our christian customers don’t just read christian books, they read general ones too and we find they quite like being able to get their general and religious things together, by the same token we find many of our general customers like the gifts, cards and other items we stock as part of our Christian range. There is good overlap but the one thing we are not ashamed of is our joint emphasis and most assuredly not hiding our Christian bias – indeed these days the Christian element has been our saving grace and it is this side that is expanding and has kept us growing most and we thank God daily for this, because the truth is bookselling is hard and it’s not just Christian Bookshops that are struggling and closing – it’s bookshops!

    So the narrow market can perhaps be a point of problem in a very few cases but the truth is it isn’t THE problem – if it was Borders wouldn’t have folded, The Works wouldn’t have almost gone to the wall as they did, the sheer number of Bookshops wouldn’t have folded as they have and this is the point that we need to think about.
    There are of course other mitigating factors – raising rents, major building work needed, increases in rateable values, rezoning of an area etc etc all these things also have impact in the struggle of any retail shop – not just us Christian ones as we all know.

    Is diversification the way forward? I don’t know I only know what works for me and in my case all of these things work together, but then that’s just how my shop evolved – it wasn’t a targeted plan it was an expansion over time and by accident almost – a fortuitous happenstance that just happens to work, but it works through commitment, knowledge and understanding my core market and what they want – in that you are 100% spot on – this is the key.

    Coffee is great but it didn’t save Borders, it isn’t saving Waterstones and I’m not sure of many shops that it does save, though it can help. This is not to be denied
    However as you well know, as I know well and as Living Oasis know too – what makes the difference is the commitment to the community, the knowledge of that community, the working with and for them and sheer unrelenting hardwork and commitment – that’s what makes shops work in the end I think.

    The truth is that at the end of the day we are all trying to do the best we can with a common mission at heart – to spread the good word through the medium of books and product and maintain a presence in our towns and cities shopping areas that I think says ‘Christian faith is worth something, it’s worth sharing, it’s worth having, it’s worth seeing. It’s not always what you think it is, it’s not always what I think it is – it is above all about community, it is about being open, about being honest, reliable and reputable, it is about being present, committed and here.’

    But then that’s just my views and they are worth exactly as much credence as you give them and my favourite badge says, ‘take my advice … I’m not using it’ however to be fair I wear it as satirical statement much like my t-shirt that says ‘if you can’t say something nice’ with it’s smiley face mouth duct taped! 😉

    • Melanie.

      I agree.

      Secular and Sacred can co-exist peacefully, and harmoniously… they probably should much more often.

      At one point we were looking at hosting a signing for a major national (non-christian) comedian.

      We have made a commitment to source “practically any book” for our customers, in print or not, new or second hand, christian or secular.

      The only books we do not sell are other religions holy texts, occult or magick books, because our landlord, a church, does not allow us to.

      My problem is not emphasising other things, but doing so at the expense of your “core” market.

      I have not been able to visit a Living Oasis store yet, but the photo’s I have seen certainly seem to look, more or less, exactly like standard christian bookshops, and while I don’t know what their financials are like, I hope they are doing well enough to warrant expansion by “a minimum of 20 stores” per year.

      If that is the case, is adding coffee, unrelated gifts, secular books etc. going to improve things or just alienate those who are keeping you afloat.

      We are diversifying, we sell education books, and have just signed off on an order for over £1000 of RE books for a local infant school, we sell fair trade and some general interest gifts. But we do so not for the sake of diversity, but because our customers are asking for it.

      I believe passing trade is important, but a little passing trade is no substitute for a loyal customer base.

      I wonder how many customers are walking into a Living Oasis demanding that it should be a coffee shop first and foremost, and that the books should be hidden away in a corner. I don’t know, maybe they are, but our experience is that our customers demand MORE books, not less, and expect MORE variety of Christian books and music in store more often, not less.

      In my experience, Coffee shops can be great, and books and coffee go together well, but, i have been into far too many independent bookshops who try to do coffee on the side, and really make a mess of it. It’s all about turnover per-square-meter. I’ve been into coffee shops which hand over a third or more of there selling space to tables and chairs, and sell only a hand-full of cups of coffee per day. It is okay if you have “dead space” in your shop where you don’t sell a lot from, but not if it is commanding a large proportion of your prime selling space.

      The times it works best are when the coffee shops are well-known franchises (like Starbucks or Costa) and operate autonomously from a quiet corner of the bookshop.

      They do not work when your sales staff are having to leave queues of customers waiting to buy books (Which usually retail at at least £8.99) to make a £1.50 coffee, which is, at best, pretty dodgey, quality wise.

      I wish this was a hypothetical situation, but unfortunately, it is a real one which I found myself in, in a bookshop in Canada which shall remain nameless.

      But I think you’re right, survival has nothing to do with gimmicks or diversification, or adding coffee or ancillary items because you think you should, but about offering the customers you have exactly what they want, and doing what you can to win other customers too.

      But winning new customers should never come at the expense of loosing the ones you already have.

      I am a now Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com, and regularly find myself writing about sports stars who make things happen “By the sheer force of their will alone” and I sort of think that the same should be true of us, as booksellers. If we are successful, it should not be because we have cottoned on to some gimmick which we hope will bring in a few passers by, but because we are so passionate, so excited, so fantastically enthusiastic about what we do that nothing upon nothing is going to stop us from making this thing work.

      • I think Cornerstone, St Neots, is a superb example of a combo Christian bookshop/café — independent report and photos here: Community Cafe Opens in St Neots. It’s not in-your-face Christianity but it’s not hidden in any way either: the café is front of store, the bookshop is way too pop-evangelical for my personal taste, but local people seem to have taken to it, to the point where they’ve recently had to recruit a full time assistant manager. Oh, and yes, dedicated café staff. If ever you’re in St Neots, well worth a visit: http://cornersn.com/

        • Looks like a fantastic shop, the staff, owners and indeed the town should be proud.

          What I really like about it is that the coffee shop and book side of the business stand alone, on their own merit.

          As you say, their bookshop and cafe have their own dedicated staff, which i feel is a real difference maker.

          I don’t think there is any hard-and-fast rule for what will, and will not work, and, indeed, Living Oasis seem to have acknowledged this, saying that they desire to work with the local community to see what will work there.

          It still concerns me, however, that they are trying to artificially grow something like this in, what remains, a troubled market, regardless of whether we are technically, out of a recession or not.

          I worry that they are as narrow minded about their approach as some of the people they have criticised have been about their own.

          I don’t think successful bookshops NEED a coffee shop, and know of more than a few where they are more of a hindrance than a help. I also can’t believe that a primarily, or even solely ‘Christian’ bookshop is not a viable entity either, and that, in and of itself, needs to add any gimmicks to survive.

          If coffee, secular books, general gifts, whatever, benefit you, then great, by all means add them, but don’t add them because you feel you should, or just because it is written in your ‘growth plan’, you may just be shackling yourself to the thing that will sink your business.

          The reason coffee shops concern me is not because they can’t work, they can, and Cornerstone, and many others will testify to that, but because if they don’t they are a huge investment.

          A restaurant grade espresso machine is over £1,500, filter coffee machines upwards of £200 each, commercial Dish washers/sanitises are upwards of £2000 each, grinders over £500, and relying on a single one of any of these things closes your shop when (not if, because they certainly will) they fail, so most coffee shops need at least two of each of these things.

          Then their is the training, and regular service contract.

          Then there is all of the tables, chairs, etc. And disposable cups. And the refrigeration. And the list goes on. Even the knives, forks, plates and mugs are going to be no small investment.

          Then there is the cost of fitting the place.

          And we haven’t even got to stocking up the place. Coffee, unlike books, has a very limited shelf life. And, unlike books, if you under, or over estimate demand, you either loose customers (a coffee shop customer isn’t going to wait while you order something which is out of stock) or waste valuable profits (Milk, cream, coffee beans, cakes, all have shelf lives which will pass before you know it.)

          If you are doing this, on top of having moved to larger, more expensive, premises that can support it, and it doesn’t take off, then you have lost an awful lot of money, and, most of these things have only a nominal value in the second hand market. You have designed a shop for selling coffee, and if it doesn’t pan out, you will need to fully refit again to make it suitable for something else.

          And to make things even worse, if you ARE successful, it is only a matter of time before Starbucks or Costa, or Cafe Nero, or all of the above decide to move into your street too.

          Until just over two years ago, Walsall did not have any chain coffee shops on the high street. Just one independent in the Art Gallary.

          When it became successful, Costa brought it, and within 9 months two Starbucks had also opened up.

          If this happens to even one of your 19 shops, it’s a massive loss. Three or four and you’re in very big trouble, and any more than that, and I can’s see how you can even begin to recover.

          As horrible as it is to think about, with coffee, your exit strategy is fraught with difficulties. Even if the book side of the business is successful, it is difficult to unchain one from the other.

          With books, music cards and gifts, it’s as simple as shutting the doors, and moving the stock elsewhere, or flogging it cheap.

          Like I said, coffee shops concern me.

  8. If you didn’t catch Eddie Olliffe’s tweet the other day here is a great interview with Sir Paul Smith, http://bit.ly/h0Z2gb
    Now you may may be wondering what this has to do with the above discussion and maybe think that an article by the genius of British Mens Fashion may not have much to say to Christian Bookshops but actually it really does.

    Eddie on his FB quoted one section where Sir Paul Smith talks about his first shop and how he had to keep it looking fresh as people didn’t have to go in the shop they could instead go to the park – it’s a great point and even more valid now than it probably was in the 70’s, however for me Eddie left the quote a little early and I love the line he left off ‘In a way my first shop was quite confrontational’ – I think that speaks loudly to some of the things we have been discussing here.

    However there are other great quotes for us to consider too:
    ‘The company has … not diversified into areas in which it has no relationships or expertise.’

    ‘… Our brand is not about having a shop on every street in the world. I think the rapid expansion of many luxury brands is what contributed to the financial situation we are in now. There is too much out there, too much stuff. Too many people trying to fish from the same pool.’

    ‘we were living in a time when we were all encouraged to borrow more and more, which is something I’ve always been deeply against. It’s just greed and people wanting more than someone else. I have always guarded against this and would smile when someone opened 60 shops in a year, because I know what you have to do in order to do that.’

    and there is the one quote it ends on that is really worth thinking about:
    ‘The designer picked up a shirt, examined the cut and colour before saying, to no one in particular: ‘I love this shirt. I love what I do. The possibilities are endless, you know … absolutely bloody endless.’

    These really are just a smattering and the whole article is really worth reading and considering because in some ways it really does have lessons in it we can perhaps learn from, I know it really made me think at times and these things can be great to consider and to use as the basis of further discussions too if anyone is interested to – because sometimes we can all become in a little blinkered in where we are and what we are doing, and even a little insular as to how what we do is different than what others do, is it mission or sales etc etc but the truth is whichever we consider it at the end of the day sometimes the best lessons come from outside the circle.
    So my thanks to Eddie Olliffe for once again looking wider and sharing that view.

  9. Pingback: 2010 and the Christian Book Trade: A Year according to the Web Stats « The Christian Bookshops Blog

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