As an industry, we’ve been faced with numerous challenges since Brexit, with Covid, shipping delays and the war in Ukraine all playing a role in the increasing cost of goods and services in the UK – and adding to staffing issues. Now, as the rise in inflation is pushing up the cost of living, we’re finding out how those working in the nursery sector are managing as they face the ongoing challenges. 

Elliot Bishop, Owner of UK nursery distributor, bébélephant, is remaining as upbeat as he can about the current economic situation:

Our turnover with our key retailers is pretty level to previous years and since we do not fund our business through debt, we don’t anticipate being too badly affected by increases in the  foreseeable rise in base rates. We also try to hedge our currency transactions to minimise FX volatility – which is the major problem at the moment.”

Since bébélephant does not operate a B2C basis, he cannot comment directly on changes in consumer spending habits, nor can he predict any radical changes in consumer spending this season:

The lines we distribute to UK retail tend to be niche and innovative. Consumers are always happy to pay a premium for that.”

In terms of supporting bébélephant’s staff as the cost of living continues to rise, Elliot offers various packages including:
  • Contributing towards the cost of childcare (“We are proud off the packages we offer to staff in this regard”, he says)
  • Flexibility for working carers (“We remain totally flexible on working from home”)
  • Guaranteed hours of work

Elliot’s top tips, advice or resources for businesses struggling at the moment:

“Do not overstretch yourselves in terms of bank borrowing – and keep positive. This is sure to be a volatile period, but it will pass. Maintain your PR where possible to keep customers abreast of newness. We offer retailers no/low MOQs to help stock and retailer cashflow.”

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