For the impatient Christmas lover, one of the first annual signals that the festivities are fast approaching is when the Christmas range hits the Flower Market at Lavenders, in mid- September. Brady Lavender has been working in the Market for 28 years and although it’s the most hectic time of the year, the run up to December 25th remains his favourite time of year. We caught up with him to find out why and ask him about this year's top selling lines.
Christmas is always a great time to walk into your emporium at the Flower Market, in fact it feels like Christmas by late September, so for Christmas fanatics, it must be a real wonderland! How important is the festive season for you as a business?
It’s our number one time of the year. Fortunately, both Faye and myself are Christmas junkies, so we love it, but the amount of work it takes is always a challenge. We source everything a year in advance, so basically just as you’re getting over it, you are reordering it.
The regulars up the Market can tell when Christmas is coming because we spend our lives up there in September and October. Some love to see us, others run away!
Can you pick out five products for us that you think will be popular this year and tell us why?
1. Sisal Stars – they are probably our biggest volume seller. They are great value, eye- catching and versatile products. We sell them in four sizes too, so there’s something to suit every customer.
2. Baubles – it’s a close run thing whether we sell more baubles than stars, but we sell thousands and thousands of both every year. We do a range of bauble sizes from 6cm to 30cm.
3. Glitter Stems - We always sell good quantities of them and we have an amazing range for people who want to glitterify their Christmas!
4. Artificial Spruce - We do garlands, wreaths sprays and a massive range of flame- retardant spruce in garland, wreath and Christmas tree. Our wreaths range from 12 inches to eight foot – there’s a huge choice (expertly modelled by Brady, here)
5. Seasonal Picks & Stems – this is the must-have items such as mistletoe, holly, berries etc... they are perennial favourites.
Are there any trends this year that stand out - or to put it another way, do you tend to find similar products being the staple lines each and every year?
We are doing a great range of glass kitsch tree decorations. I personally love these, particularly the animal range. When we first put the full range out, these were definitely the most popular items, so I’d say that’s this year’s trend.
You can’t really call it a trend any more, but one of the best sellers that I really thought would have lost a bit of its popularity by now is candy cane. It is still right up there for our customers and we will sell a lot again this year.
People invest a lot of money in their Christmas decorations and I guess if you spend £400 on stuff this year, you’re not going to just throw it away. I like to go a bit crazy myself though and have new things every year.
Does the clientele differ at Christmas to other times of the year or do you find the same customers buying the festive gear?
We do tend to be serving a lot of regulars and of course that’s really important to us. It’s always lovely to welcome new people though and especially lovely to see their faces when they enter the shop for the first time. It really does make them feel festive!
How has the year been to date? Is everything on track and what have been the highlights?
It’s been a tough year. There is definitely less money about, so people are looking for bargains. Heads up to those people - we are going to have a massive pot clearance in January to boost trade in a traditionally quiet month.
But the highlight of this year by far was October, which saw Faye and I travelling back to the Far East to see existing suppliers and find new products and suppliers for 2024. We couldn’t wait to go; it had been four years since we were able to go and we travelled to Vietnam and Hong Kong and across China. [Before the pandemic], we were going as often as three times a year and last month, we were out there buying and sourcing new items for our collection.
We look forward to sharing them with our customers next year.