Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Nest
Nest, a gift shop in Leicester, was founded 19 years ago by Samantha Gibbs. After moving to a beautiful boutique shopping area, isolated from the city, Sam planned to open a contemporary applied arts gallery. However, it was very obvious early on that there was a huge demand for jewellery, gifts, and homeware, so Sam went back to the drawing board and Nest was born.
Nest has always been ahead of its time in regard to the kind of products consumers are looking for. Handmade products are very much at the forefront, but when Nest first opened they were difficult to source. Samantha said, “I wanted everything to be handmade, but I very quickly realised the demand for my products was larger than I could gather from the craft scene. We really do try to be an ethical retailer, so when the demand was too high, the only way I could justify having the products sourced in was if they were ethically made. We are especially strict about all of our wholesale toy's suppliers and kids brands.”
Nest sells their products online, but their pride and joy are their three bricks and mortar gift shops, “It’s that personal touch, if they have the time our customers can come in and see it and smell it and their senses are aroused. The shops are very locally based so we are very in tune with our customers, they’re our friends. Online is a necessary string to our bone but I’m adamant that we are a walk-in gift shop first.”
The success of Nest comes down to the passion and work ethic of their whole team. Sam said, “The team just don’t stop, we genuinely live the business, we’ve all got very busy lives but these days with technology its always in one hand, it’s always on your mind. We all have very different roles but everyone within the team has found their own groove. We go with the natural rhythm of what that employee enjoys doing the most.”
Just as Nest was ahead of the trends with handmade artisan products, they were selling personalised gifts for years before it boomed in popularity, “The work before I was doing before I opened Nest was around personalisation so that’s been something I’ve always known contributes to customer satisfaction. There are so many ways you can create personalised gifts, so we are always looking for the next best way to do that.”
Nest sources all of their products at trade shows, finding the majority at Spring and Autumn Fair, “I go to trade shows to look for products, but it’s not the only reason I go. I look for trends on the show floor and I love having the opportunity to hear key note speakers. I really do factor in time to go and sit and listen. That value is so important to me, I’d feel like I was missing out if I didn’t take time to hear the experts. I’m the first in every morning, and the last out every evening.”
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