Looking back and ahead
The sale of the Denant Mill Inn in 1995 left us feeling like a plastic bottle bobbing in the sea. What now? We felt we were being put out to pasture, with no plans for the future. From being ‘on stage’ at the Mill we were two rudderless middle aged people going to Tesco’s daily just for something to do. Then, like as happened so often in the past, a chance remark resulted in the setting up of The Neem People.
We were in a niche market – right place, right time – and we started to build up a customer base, realizing that we also needed to increase our list of products. Call it luck or judgement; we seemed to have picked the right products and customers soon embraced them. We have always tried all our products ourselves before putting them on the market, so we could sell with confidence.
Testimonials were proof that we were on the right track. Our records show that 80% of our customers are ‘regulars’ with a constant infusion of new blood. Repeat orders are a clear indication of loyalty and dependence to the point that we are now getting calls from people asking for assurance. We are on first name terms with our customers and telephone calls for orders often end with a chat.
Some of our customers have known us since we set up The Neem People, twenty years ago, and are now growing concerned knowing we cannot carry on with the business ad nauseam. They have come to depend on our products, some of which are unique to us, and are concerned about resourcing similar preparations. This dependency weighs heavily on us; how much longer before we are forced to call it a day and cut our customers adrift. It will be a very sad day. Sadly, our children have lives of their own and cannot take over from us.
I have always prided myself on being able to find solutions; hopefully I will get help from above.