As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2023, I am mindful that I have not written a blog for our subscribers in quite some time and so this new post might seem a bit ‘out of the blue’. I completely understand that feeling. Writing it feels the same way. However, despite the rising inflation and interest rates, I am cautiously optimistic about what this year holds for Shrewsbury and all of the independent businesses like ours. It seems Shrewsbury has captured the hearts of a couple of journalists writing for national newspapers lately and we could not be more proud. Shrewsbury, and White Orchard, captured my heart on my first visit in 2014 and it never ceases to be beautiful and interesting to me.

Don’t worry. I’m not going on a tangent about the beauties of Shrewsbury but meeting so many tourists from other parts of the UK and talking with them has me excited for the future the first time in a while. I’m sure you know the feeling well, yourself. We’ve all been there; the last few years have been tough on most people we know. But now, when I talk to people, they seem more optimistic and if I’m being honest, it’s been contagious. I’ve spent a lot of time during this quieter part of the year working to fix issues with our website and do a lot of back end work to help it perform better. I’m happy to see the fruits of that labour, as we are now serving 150% more customers on our website than this time last year! For someone who knew nothing about developing a website when I started this venture, I find that kind of statistic very exciting. We are also serving more customer in our bricks & mortar shop as well and that always brings a smile to my face. I love knowing that we are more than just a beautiful boutique gift shop in our community; the locals really do view us as a resource to help them with their daily needs.

You’re probably asking yourself, ‘why is she rambling on about all of this?’ The point is I am excited about the future for the first time in over a year and that has energised me in a new way. I’ve decided to start a series of blogs catching you up on all the things that have been going on behind the scenes, while introducing you to some of my favourite new products that are now available on our website. As you may know, we only offer a small selection of our overall offerings to our online customers, but I promise I am constantly working to improve those offerings. I have already added more than 100 NEW blank greeting cards to our website this year, along with a new collection of gorgeous gifts for those loved ones expecting a new baby or those decorating a nursery. I have also created a new section on our website under ‘Gifts’ called ‘Some of my Favourite Things’. Here I will continue to add new and quirky gifts throughout the year, that our in-store customers tell me ‘help bring the personality to a home’. I have also added new lightweight women’s scarves to our online offerings and I am currently working to add a new collection of British made luxury bath products as well.

So, stay tuned for more regular blog posts and some exciting announcements I am really struggling to keep quiet about at the moment.