There’s an element of time travel when writing these articles (this story was originally published in the January issue of Greetings Today Magazine by the Wishes marketing manager Chris Fox). I travel back into the shop’s past, report on the present before jumping in my stolen Tardis to take a peak at the future. For example here I’m in December writing an article that won’t be read by you my greeting card friends until 2018. It’s like an episode of Doctor Who set in Yorkshire. To quote the Tenth Doctor, this column is “A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff”. In today’s episode I’ll be traveling back to the distant past of 2017 before looking forward to our shop’s new adventures in time and space.
The Past – 2017
“VWORP VWORP VWORP,” (This is my best attempt at writing a Tardis noise). We arrive outside Wishes careful not to cross the timelines as 2017 Chris is inside the shop doing some Facebook photos with Julia. Ah, yes I remember this moment well. We’d just received a big bundle of shoeboxes for the Barnsley Homeless Shoebox Appeal from a local Nursery. It was great to be able to highlight this local charity and we even had emails from Bradford asking about the project. Social media is a powerful tool, which can be used for good… No really, it’s not all Trolls, Trumps and Terrible Things. It can help create small ripples of social change and make the world a better place.
The one thing that’s really resonated with me last year was to put a greater emphasis on working with our local community. The shop is known as Wishes of Cudworth after all. As I’ve said many times before our simple goal is to get people into the shop and onto our high-street. Now this more localised community focus doesn’t mean we’re going to neglect our digital marketing. More than ever it will be important to have a strong online presence. However we want Cudworth to have a healthy high-street and are working on promoting not just us but the whole village. We’ve seen a couple of shops close recently and that can quickly lead to a Quagmire of Doom. Which sounds like a lost episode of Doctor Who.
Bear with me here as this may seem to be a distracting diversion but clever scientists types will tell you that humans have evolved to have a negativity bias. If we used our Tardis to go back to Prehistoric times we’d face a very different world. The distant past was a scary place for early humans, where anything dangerous would have to be acted on immediately for survival. Thus, even now in slightly more civilised times our attitudes are more influenced by downbeat news than positive news. Ok, this may seem beyond the remit of a little greeting card shop in Barnsley but I really do believe in trying to send out a positive message. After all, is a greeting card not a message of love and support?
With this in mind I feel that it makes sense to look at how our shop can support and help our high street. To make the word a better place and wait, what’s that?
Oh no, quick, it’s a trap, that’s no rubbish bin. A Dalek, back to the Tardis.
“VWORP VWORP VWORP,” Phew, we escaped and with the added bonus of not changing the past and creating a terrible alternative reality where Donald Trump is President and Brexit actually happened. Now let’s set the Tardis’ console to the futuristic year of 2018.
The Future – 2018
To echo the last words of the 11th Doctor “Times change, and so must I… we all change. When you think about it, we are all different people, all through our lives and that’s okay, that’s good! You’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”
The Doctor is right. Change is good. Much like the early humans I referenced earlier, at Wishes we’re looking at evolution not revolution. We’re going to be streamlining the Wishes website giving it a fresh new look and jettisoning some of the junk. I’m taking my own advice and dropping our Wishes blog and instead will look to build traffic through social media and links from our affiliate websites.
As for my other projects… First up is Gift Shop Hub. After much soul searching I’ve decided to continue my retail blog. For a while I toyed with the idea of merging Gift Shop Hub with Wishes but ultimately decided it would do nether website any favors. I felt in could only weaken each “brand” and potentially make the new site confusing for our customers/readers. I’m also the Master behind a new website visitcudworth.co.uk which will have shop listings, events and community news about Cudworth. I’m sure this new website will pop up my future GT columns so keep reading to keep updated with progress of this exciting project.
Finally next year I’m doing to diving head first into online Crowdfunding to raising much-needed funds for our local projects. I hope to get involved with Jeremy Corner’s video Greeting Card Project, which will become community based in 2018, with contributors from all over the country. There will be Spring Fair shenanigans. I might even look into Pinterest again. Which I said I’d do last year. And didn’t. Some things never really change.
Like the Doctor, Wishes will change whilst remaining true to its values. The shop will hold onto the attributes that make it great whilst regenerating into the best version of itself. And yes, thanks to some clever displays from Julia, Wishes really does look bigger on the inside…