For most independent retailers, Black Friday can feel like a heavy dark cloud hanging over our heads, we cant wait for it to pass.  This is the day, or week as it’s now become, where we see lots of big retailers slashing prices before Christmas.  Matching this type of price cutting selling tool would be catastrophic for most small independent businesses like mine, unless you retail with overly inflated margins in the first place, we simply don’t have the margin or volume to utilise this type of sales promotion.  So as Black Friday appears on the horizon, I’m once again asking myself what to do, attempt to join in or hunker down and ride out the storm.

The background to all of this is that I feel proud of the year we’ve had, as a small independent business in a tough retail landscape, goodness knows I just feel lucky to even still be here!  As a brand we’ve made good decisions and have worked hard to keep our name out there, build on our website and online offering and stay at the forefront of the “retail-tainment” trend.  And our efforts seem to have been noticed; we’ve been recognised by BIRA, the voice of independent retailers, as being one of the most innovative retailers in the UK with our offering of workshops and an online virtual shopping experience.  We got a mention in The Daily Telegraph and I was even shortlisted for a Business Leader Award by the St Albans Chamber of Commerce.  I’ve made my first proper TV debut on BBC 1’s The Best House in Town and the leader of Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, visited our shop in St Albans to discuss business rates and the impact they are having on the high street.  And above all of that, most importantly, our customers voted us Muddy Stilettos Best Interiors Shop in Herts and Beds for the second year running – an accolade that I really cherish.

I’m also trying to support charities and other small businesses local or otherwise.  We’ve donated to 16 charities this year and by launching ourselves as a pop up venue I’m hoping to not only widen our appeal but to also add interest to our high street and help give other small retail businesses a wider platform to achieve.

So with all of that said, you might assume that Cositas is enjoying success and indeed we do to a great extent feel like we are.  But it simply isn’t the type of success that means that I can offer the type of price slashing that happens across the bigger retail landscape, it would probably single handedly close our shop.  So what do I do?  I don’t want my customers to think I don’t want to reward them or that I don’t want their loyalty, because that’s exactly what I want.  So I’m going to demonstrate my commitment to them and keep doing what I’m doing.  I’ll continue to offer the best all year round fair prices that I can, the best service I can, I’m going to listen to my customers, to what they want, to add value to their experience, to give them reasons to continue to support a small business.  I want to be their long-term partner, not a quick cheap dirty fling.

So this year, I give you, Golden Friday; a celebration of all things golden and glorious that Cositas offers to lift the spirits and any dark cloud that looms.  A reminder of my continued commitment to my relationship with my customers.  And because all great relationships need bubbles, Ill be serving those all day long in my shop too.  So come and visit us and join us in a golden bubbly toast to the beautiful relationship we have built and that I hope to enjoy for many more years to come.

This Golden Friday, Cositas will be open for 10am until 7pm and offering bubbly refreshments while you shop.