The start of 2021 did not look promising for Cactws, with the Government restrictions for Lockdown 3.0 meaning we could not open the doors to our shop once again. We had no idea how long we were going to be closed for, and with this being the third time to have to close, we knew the online side of our business would be more important to us than ever.
What some people may not know is that for us to have stock from around 90% of our brands, we have to pre-order 6+ months in advance as it is all seasonal buying. So without knowing that we were going to experiencing the 3rd closure, we still had Spring/Summer deliveries scheduled as normal. Luckily, some brands were understanding, and allowed us to delay the deliveries until we re-opened, whilst other brands had to delay or cancel orders due to issues on their end such as factories being closed down.
The shop ended up being closed from the 20th of December until the 12th of April, meaning we were closed for more than the first quarter of the year! And with the support of our online community, we did see that our online sales increased compared to the year before, which we are extremely thankful for. We also could not have done it without the government grants, furlough and reduced business rates. Due to the increase in online sales, we also decided to hire a new team member to only work full-time on the shop floor, whilst the current full-time team member could solely concentrate on building the online platform.
When we re-opened on the 12th of April, the support was immense, and having that extra full-time team member was most definitely needed. After we re-opened, we introduced some new brands, including Havaianas and Birkenstock, and for the second quarter of the year (April-June), we had seen a massive increase in sales and have never reached those numbers before, which is amazing.
On the 1st of August, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary, which is just crazy. We still remember our opening night party, and how fun it was. We did have a little celebration in the shop with a mini pop up cocktail bar and DJ for a couple of hours. But it was not at the same level as our opening party haha! We are still hoping to host another party to properly celebrate our anniversary, and hope to invite our customers, friends and family to raise a glass with us.
Again, our Summer months were crazy, with so many visitors from all over the country / world coming in to the shop. We did have a little hiccup with the worry of the road closures that the Council had decided to put in place for social distancing reasons. With this, we did have quite a few issues with our daily deliveries and postal pickups. But we are super thankful for the extra work the couriers have put in, in terms of working around the road closures of Aberystwyth, as well as the extremely high demand that they were, and are continuing to experience.
To finish the year, the Christmas period was super fun for us, ordering in lots of gifting items to help the residents of Aberystwyth find the perfect gift for their loved ones. I guess we went socks mad when buying, and in the last quarter of this year, maybe we can say our customers also went socks mad, selling over 500 pairs of socks!! We also stocked up on a load of beanies, and saw ourselves having to re-stock quite a few times, with over 200 beanies also selling during this period.
To finish off 2021, we would like to say thank you for the huge support we have received from our customers, as well as the brands, the delivery drivers, our staff, other local businesses and anyone who has supported us on socials over the year.
Here's to 2022 for Cactws, a year to continue to grow, with exciting new brands incoming.