A one stop shop where you can buy more than 1,400 products from around 120 different social enterprises, the appropriately named Social Supermarket was launched in January 2019 by friends Jamie Palmer, Alex Owen and Matt Dabell.
But it’s in the last year that things have really taken off for the company, with sales having grown exponentially. A lot of sales were to corporates wanting to send gift boxes to employees thanking them for their work during what Jamie describes as ‘an emotional year’.
Jamie applied to Expert Impact for some advice about appealing to corporates in September 2020 and was matched with Zia Yusuf, the man behind luxury concierge service Velocity Black. Aimed at the hard working wealthy who are time poor, it’s been reported the company can arrange renting fighter jets, swimming with orcas or access to Oscars after parties.
Zia’s clients have high service expectations and Jamie wanted to understand better how to meet that in order to appeal to corporate clients. Social Supermarket offered a standard range online but Jamie’s team had started to service corporate customers who had specific ideas about what they were looking for.
“Talking to him about the thought process was really useful. He gave feedback to us about designing a system and gifting for people with very high expectations. Using that conversation to feed into how we pitched the business was really helpful,” said Jamie.
“For us what’s really important is the whole experience of knowing a lot of thought has gone into the product, so both environmental and social credentials, but also the quality of the packaging (of the gift boxes) and the story behind the brands. And creating a lasting impact so people want to tell each other about these gifts.”
The thought they subsequently put into the gift boxes they could offer paid off. Having sold 700 gift boxes in 2019, Social Supermarket sold 13,000 in 2020.
“Covid played a strong role – the corporate side of things really took off. That had a huge impact in terms of companies wanting to buy ethically and that’s continued on this year as well so it hasn’t been a flash in the pan,” said Jamie.
“As a social impact brand we are very focused on scale, that’s significant for us – how do we scale up the sector? It’s about increasing the sales for the brands that we represent.”
As well as the insight he took from Zia about meeting customer expectations, the two also discussed taking on investment and creating an effective board, but Jamie also credits the conversation for bolstering his feelings about himself as a relatively new entrepreneur and leader.
“A lot of it is just getting confidence in your instincts. When you’re starting out you’re doing everything with a lot of doubt. Just someone else telling you that is how they did it gives you a lot of confidence in your decisions.”
“You can learn a huge amount through what other people have gone through. What Expert Impact is great at is connecting people who are excellent at what they have done and are very accomplished, and so the ability to learn from their past successes and also failures is a really worthwhile experience. We have really strong ambitions in terms of growth so being able to talk to someone was really helpful,” said Jamie.
If you feel like a chat with a mentor could help the progress of your company, start here.
Image by athree23 from Pixabay