For many reasons 2020 will be well documented in history books. In recent months the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it; our core values have shifted as our normal freedoms have been put on pause, the way we spend time in and interact with our homes and gardens has changed significantly, as has the way we do business. LifestyleGarden® - one of the UK’s leading outdoor furniture brands – is one company that has taken steps to change its operating systems to minimise the impact of the Corona lockdown; changes that have been so successful that the company is reporting that 2020 will, in fact, be the most successful year for the LifestyleGarden brand to-date!
Successful forward planning
LifestyleGarden® puts its success down to its forward planning. As news emerged from China regarding the Corona crisis, its parent company, ScanCom International, stepped up production levels at its Vietnam-based factories. Largely unaffected by the pandemic, Vietnam – unlike Chinese manufacturers – was able to bring forward production planning that was in place for 2021. This meant that the company was able to utilise its 2million sq. ft facility to store ranges as well as ensuring that plenty of stock would be heading to the UK.
With many containers about to land in the UK just at the time doors had to close, many of which were destined for quick turnaround in the UK warehousing, or were going direct to customers that found themselves in some cases unable to take in stock, the additional deliveries had to be distributed across four warehouses drafted in to assist exclusively with lockdown orders. What wasn’t expected was the unprecedented demand for product during lockdown from garden centres that were still offering a consumer delivery service. With no benchmark to compare to – worldwide pandemics aren’t a common occurrence thankfully - it was hard to foresee such high levels of orders during lockdown and with the re-opening of the stores, consequently the warehouses are being quickly stripped of stock. But forewarned is forearmed! The anticipation of a post-lockdown boom saw the company ship more of their stock held in Vietnam, with more stock arriving weekly from until the end of August, allowing for maximum availability.
Supporting garden centre customers
Supporting its garden centre customers was of paramount importance for LifestyleGarden® throughout lockdown. Seeing centres close their doors was tough for all to watch, which is why the team vowed to do everything they could to ensure garden centre customers had everything they needed to continue trading via their online channels, by click & collect, and also once lockdown was lifted. This commitment meant LifestyleGarden® also rejected the advances of internet retailers who were interested in securing stock.
Paul Cohen, LifestyleGarden®’s Sales Director said: “During lockdown we were approached with offers from online retailers to take stock off our hands. I can see why many would have been tempted by this, but for us it was imperative that we maintained control of our brand and stock, which is why we worked in partnership with our garden centre customers to ensure that stock was available when it was needed most. We firmly believe that sticking to this business model was the right thing to do and will stand us, and our customers, in good stead for the coming season.”
Paul added: “None of what has been achieved would have been possible without our incredible teams both here and in Vietnam. In the UK, with our dedicated office team, keeping up with the workload from home, and our efficient warehouse team, operating with only skeleton staff to enable social distancing, we have been able to perform the (almost) impossible and we cannot thank the teams enough for their commitment. With orders still flooding in, it’s great to have a team we can rely on during the darkest of times and to be part of such a supportive ScanCom family.
“We’d also like to send our thanks to the garden centres for their ongoing custom and congratulate them for showcasing to the rest of the UK how retail can reopen safely, as well demonstrating ongoing resilience in the face of such a significant and scary unknown. The last few months have been incredibly hard but we’re so proud to be part of this industry.”
In addition to supporting its retail customers, LifestyleGarden® is also backing the ScanCom Corona Foundation, which has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic in Asia. To date, the foundation has helped a wide range of people within local communities to rebuild their lives following loss of income during the pandemic.
2020 may have been a record-breaking start to the season, but 2021 is expected to look even brighter. With the LifestyleGarden® gaining more and more traction, fast becoming a fan favourite, and the brand extending into close to 40 countries, many might expect them to take their foot off the gas. Not so. A new mega factory is on the way – find out more by viewing the latest development video - and the LifestyleGarden® brand is set to become even bigger as the result of some exciting expansion plans, details of which are currently under wraps.
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