Hello, Everyone!

Welcome to our first blog post. Scratch that...welcome to my FIRST EVER blog post! I thought I should dedicate this post to the topic of 'change'. We have found ourselves in such strange times with our entire lives uprooted and flipped on their heads that it's hard to avoid the 'C' word these days. But that doesn't have be a negative word and at White Orchard we see it as a positive. 

I know many out there are struggling and find themselves feeling anxious and tired of the lock down measures preventing them from going about their normal daily lives. To those of you feeling this way, I completely understand! It is normal to struggle with any form of change, no matter how small it may be. And the current situation has brought massive changes to the way we live. Gone (for now) are the days when we can meet up with friends and family for a coffee, a day of shopping, or a trip to the pub. We can't go for a Sunday roast with our family or celebrate a loved one's wedding. This can lead to loneliness and depression if we are not able to find ways to combat those feelings. If this is how you are feeling, please get outside if you can and go for a walk. The fresh air, sunshine and exercise will release endorphins that improve our mental health in ways you wouldn't believe. One walk won't change everything, but a walk every day will result in a gradual change that you will notice within a few days. 

I also know many of you are taking full advantage of the current lock down measures...like me. You've been painting your homes, working in your gardens, getting more exercise than you ever had time for before. You're cooking more and spending more quality time with your families, whether they live with you or not. George and I have been doing weekly family Zoom chats and we've thoroughly enjoyed it. Our nieces have been setting weekly quizzes for us and this past week the winners were rewarded with having to set the next quizzes. I've never been so happy not win something in my life!! LOL!!! Oddly enough the best part of these family video chats is that we are more connected now than we ever were before. 

As you know by now, I've taken the opportunity to create a website so our amazing customers can shop online. What you don't know is the mountain of a task this has been. Not only is my living room full of stock that had to be catalogued and organized in preparation for uploading but I've had to download images for every item, and create descriptions when they were not available from the supplier. Each item has been measured and weighed; shipping rates have been set, along with a returns policy and so much more.

Part way through this process George and I realized we were going to have a major inventory management problem on our hands once we are able to re-open the shop. How were we going to update available quantities on the website as items sold in the shop and how were we going to record those sold items without sacrificing our ability to serve you quickly? That brought uploading product to a screeching halt for a little over a week while we thought about whether we could find a solution that wouldn't cost the earth and integrate easily with the website. Once we realized the only way we could successfully offer online sales was to find the technology that would integrate our sales in the shop with the website, the research began. 

We had no idea if we could even afford to upgrade our till system. Fortunately, we found a solution. After several video conferences and more investment we secured the tools we needed to proceed. Since then I have been glued to my desk chair at our dining room table uploading as many items as I possibly can to provide you with the largest variety possible. We will of course be uploading more product each week to bring you the best of everything you've come to love at White Orchard. 

I could go on and on about the amount of work going on at the shop. From the website, the new till system and the fresh coats of paint it seems the work never stops. But the fact is we do it all for you. When you are able to come back the shop will have been cleaned top to bottom and every display reset. Even the shopfront will get fresh coats of paint. And who knows! You may even see some new stock. What you will definitely see is me and our team there to greet you with a warm smile ready to help you however we possibly can. 

Until then, we at White Orchard hope all of you are keeping well and feeling the love we are sending you each passing day.