Successfully Growing a Local Brand. Interview with Stuart Backhouse of Seasalt

Growing a local brand

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Seasalt have both a Facebook, You Tube and Twitter presence. When did you branch into social media and has this had any impact on your business?

Social media became an integral part of Seasalt’s marketing mix around four years ago. Not only has it played a major role in driving traffic to our online shop, but it’s also been instrumental in being able to create and develop a strong Seasalt community and in being able to bring our brand and values to life.

Where did the inspiration for Seasalt come from?

Our Seasalt designers have always drawn inspiration from our own doorstep, with Cornwall’s beautiful coastline and landscapes. There’s also real integrity to the heritage of our fishing villages and artistic communities that offer an incredible reference point for us.

What prompted you to use outsourced contact centre services, specifically WeAnswer?

When launching our first mail order catalogue recently, we wanted to be sure we could meet the demands and provide excellent service to all our customers. Although we have a fantastic online customer services team in-house, we needed to plan additional resources to ensure we continued to handle our customer orders quickly and efficiently. WeAnswer gave us the facility and flexibility to extend the opening hours for our customer order line and gave us the reassurance that extra resource was on hand if needed.

What are the benefits to Seasalt of using an outsourced contact centre?

By dealing solely with customer orders, WeAnswer’s contact centre freed up the time our in-house customer service team had to deal with any customer queries or issues in the way people have come to expect of Seasalt; and offering a safety net of extra resource so that customers are never kept waiting.

What is the future for Seasalt?

Seasalt is always looking to develop, progress and evolve and we are anticipating continued steady growth. As well as looking forward to opening more of our own shops in coastal locations in the UK, we’re excited to continue working with John Lewis following an initial launch into five of their stores, including Oxford Street, with our limited edition Artists and Potters collection for Spring/Summer 2012. We’ll soon be rolling out to additional John Lewis stores across the UK with a beautiful new Autumn/Winter collection.

How do you stay ahead of the competition?

Creativity and innovation is central to everything we do, with exciting new products, prints, fabrics and designs. We have always nurtured our relationships with our suppliers, which really helps us to plan ahead. We know that people really value quality goods and want to support local textile traditions, so we are also working with craftspeople to develop our ‘Locally Made’ range.

What is Seasalt’s unique selling point?

We’re passionate about Cornwall and the coastal way of life and this is really reflected in everything we do – the style of our clothing and accessories, in the feel of our shops, the people we work with and the charities we support. We also invest in quality – our garments are designed to last season-after-season.

What are the most surprising business trends you have noticed in the last few years?

Despite the testing economic times, we’ve still continued to grow. Our brand is becoming increasingly recognised UK-wide, we’ve opened more shops and have been able to employ more people than ever. The trend for ‘staycations’ in the UK may have benefitted us, as many of our shops are in coastal towns that are popular with visitors. In addition to our loyal base of long-term customers, we are attracting new customers as our brand profile grows. We’ve also noticed cross-channel purchasing between online and in-store, possibly as people visit while on holiday and  continue to purchase when they return home.

For more informations go to Seasalt’s website

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