Simply put, our sales have sharply crashed since Friday, June 24, 2016, the day of the European Union referendum result when the UK's public majority voted to leave the EU.
Normally, Fridays are frantic days on our sales line for last-minute birthday cakes for the weekend, but last Friday was eerily quiet in retrospect. I say retrospect because at the time, we were so rushed off our feet meeting our pre-orders in our order book plus getting prepped for our incredible table launch in Selfridges as of today (more on that in just a bit), on top of referendum anxiety on my mind, I didn't actually feel the stillness until the dust started settling over the weekend.
The result is what it is, and I feel that after the initial sadness/euphoria (depending on whichever side one voted on) it's now transformed into uncomfortable unease stemming from uncertainty on both sides. Remainers are shocked to leave, Leavers are shocked to have no real action or plans put forward amidst the unraveling of campaign myths. This may have just manifested itself in our sales - it would seem the country is mourning in limbo, and perhaps at the moment, people aren't in the mood to celebrate.
Furthermore, we've started receiving notices from a few suppliers regarding costs of goods going up, namely ingredients. You see, our wholesalers import chocolate, almonds, food coloring, hazelnuts, Nutella, etc., from other EU member states and pay for them in Euros. Sadly, with the Pound crashing, they are expecting to have to pay more Pounds for the same and hence will have to pass on the costs to us, their customers. This isn't just an economic theory, where we hypothesize the cost of buying fuel, priced in US Dollars, going up due to the Pound crashing and burning since the referendum and the effects slowly trickling down in the form of inflation; this is very real, happening imminently and will be affecting our business directly.
So while I was excited to launch our table celebrating the Great British Feast at Selfridges Food Hall today stashed full of our birthday cakes, Faux Fried Chicken, UnScotch Eggs, marshmallows, teacakes, Muffles and S'mores, I was also quite downcast about our outlook and choppy waters ahead, especially as we have only just turned our business around since closing the shop in Kensington 6 months ago. That heavy downcast feeling was lightening up considerably as I walked around the shop floor in Selfridges food hall - it was so uplifting to see people from all backgrounds, all ages, all walks of life shopping under the same roof, many of whom were tourists (more bang for their buck!).
I left feeling much more positive. For sure, the uncertainty and increased costs etc. are a threat to be wary of for our business and everyone. However, one thing I'm much more certain of - time is the best healer, and people still want good food, and they will still have birthdays for which they will want good cake.
Keeping calm and caking on,