In this series, the WBN highlights how members have adapted to changing business and consumer contexts by innovating within the business. By sharing their stories of change, we hope it gives confidence and insight to other Wheatbelt businesses.
Owned by Jenny Garroun, Botanicalia and Gallery 152 are a café + gallery shop and contemporary art gallery. The business services both the local community and visitors from Perth and the wider region.
STRATEGIES YOU HAD IN PLACE BEFORE COVID-19
Botanicalia has tended to employ on a permanent part time basis rather than rely on casual staff, which helps the culture of the workplace and provide staff with job security. This has meant it was eligible for some Government assistance during the COVID19 crisis. It had 7 staff earlier in the year but have reduced this to 5.
INNOVATIONS DURING COVID-19
=> LOCAL COMMUNITY Botanicalia has realised the value of its local customers to the business which have been incredibly supportive during this current crisis. As a consequence, the business model has been considerably strengthened by the COVID19 experience by directing its focus onto local customers. Although the first few weeks of trade restrictions definitely gave them cause for concern, turnover has been increasing and they anticipate this will continue. Botanicalia has been supporting local key service providers with occasional donations of morning tea platters as a way of saying thanks for the work done to keep the community together.
=> DELIVERY SERVICE Botanicalia immediately adapted to a take away and delivery service.
=> PAYMENTS Botanicalia encouraged customers to use store gift cards rather than multiple payments by EFTPOS or using cash, this has reduced person to person contact and overheads.
=> ONLINE PRESENCE Botanicalia has invested heavily improving its brand awareness by increasing their social media presence and engagement with customers, particularly with Facebook and Instagram. Botanicalia has focused on promoting their products online, introducing their staff to customers and helping to promote other local businesses. They have used local radio to reach new customers. Going forward the business intends to maintain the focus on digital engagement.
=> STAFF Botanicalia encouraged staff to use accrued leave while keeping other staff employed as the business adapted to the restricted business environment. One member of staff who was due to start a new job in Perth at the start of the COVID19 lockdown, was re-engaged and is now working to build the business in a post COVID19 environment.
ADVICE TO WHEATBELT BUSINESSES
You’ve invested in your business, back yourself and be open to new opportunities which might not have existed except for this crisis. Now is the time to change your thinking and adapt your business model.