We're 9.... what a year!
Thought that we'd give a quick update on our 9th birthday.
First of all, thanks for all your practical and prayer support over these last 9 years and especially over the last 15 months. We feel particularly blessed on this birthday because we seemed to have survived the worst of the pandemic... whilst we've been severely impacted, we're hopeful that we can return to the growth path that we were on and reach more people with our encouragements.
You may or may not know that, as well as The Wee Sparrow store, the main part of what we do is supplying Christian bookshops, retailers and events across the UK. With shops having to close for long periods during lockdowns and with events being cancelled for a 2nd year in a row, it has been very, very challenging. Whilst we got some government support, like some others in our field, we couldn't access much in the way of furlough payments.
The make-up of our team has changed - Rob and Naomi are now full-time on their own online business which was taking off just as the real impact of the lockdown was hitting us... it couldn't have been timed better and we all see this as God's provision. Sarah, who has done a lot of our design from day one, is now devoting more of her time to us now that her kids are at school and nursery... she did our newest range which is already proving to be our most popular ever. We're also hoping to add a couple more folk in the next month or so as we get ready for the busy run up to Christmas.
We feel particularly for those shops who have decided to close or not re-open - we're firm supporters of Christian bookshops in the High Street and it's sad to see the closures but we do see some of the remaining bricks and mortar shops introducing new initiatives which we hope and pray will serve the UK church well.
Whilst there are closures, if I can put it this way, there's also more "competition" too as there's been more folk who have decided to pursue setting up an online business offering Christian cards and gifts. Our switch to a new website just before the 1st lockdown was very well-timed and our online following has grown beyond our expectations. However, we've put back our expected move to bigger premises for the time being.
The last year has really shaken things up and, across the sector, we're all trying to work out what the future holds and whether the models that we operate will still serve the church well in the future. As for us, we're hopeful! Shops have started to order again and we've got more new products on the way. We're building more partnerships and we believe that we're still called to encourage and spur on Christians here in the UK. More than ever though, we need wisdom, inspiration and the means to put that inspiration in to tangible products that will bless you and those you give them too... we'd value your prayers!