Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

E-commerce sales soar in lockdown

E-commerce sales soar in lockdown

Leicester based web company is praised by a 'designer interiors retailer' forced to close its doors due to Covid 19 Crisis and faced losing everything.


How focusing on the opportunities paid dividends 

“Clare and I have put every minute of every day into this business for the last 3 and a bit years, and were facing potentially losing it all due to this horrible virus and lockdown scenario.

"However, a slight shift in focus and a little effort raising our online activity has delivered more than a tenfold increase in online orders. It’s given us a lifeline and the hope we can survive this crisis. We wouldn't have had this success if our web developer team at Quiet Storm, had not responded so quickly. They’ve all always been brilliant in helping and advising us, and now there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Glenn Harrison Co-owner, No64 Biscuit House


The COVID 19 Crisis has had a dramatic impact on all businesses

As the saying goes, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Businesses of all shapes and sizes have been impacted positively and negatively. There are those industries that seem to have vanished overnight, like leisure and tourism. There are industries that continue to tick over, but sales have been hit hard and although still trading; they’re counting down the hours until the end of lockdown. Then, there are the few sectors that have seen revenues increase; for example food retailers, logistics companies and PPE manufacturers. 


The key in any crisis is to focus on what can be done

Some of the more entrepreneurial businesses have adapted to answer the Government shout out to make ventilators, PPE or simply changed their practices to carry on. High street retail is probably one of the hardest hit, and has been under considerable pressure as shopping habits change. Which is why many have website to provide greater exposure to their brand, products and services. No 64 is a great example of an independent family run high street retailer, they’ve created a unique brand, and were growing steadily before the crisis.


Business owners choose how they react

No64 Biscuit House is based in the picturesque, tourist attracting, seaside village of Milford on Sea, on the edge of the New Forest National Park. No64 Biscuit House’s doors closed when the lockdown was enforced, and like many retailers, not knowing if they would be in a position to ever open again. But Clare Southcombe-Holmes, owner and professional photographic stylist, soon realised that people were going to need something to do, a new hobby, a project, and so she focused on the Annie Sloan chalk paint side of her operation.


No64 focused on how they could 'up' their online presence

Almost immediately, following some focused social media (including an Instagram giveaway competition of a litre of paint of your choice), an email to her database, and a small Facebook and Google shopping campaign, online orders started to flood in for Annie Sloan furniture paint and accessories.


“As always, knowing your audience is key. Keep communicating, keep making the case, but never stop listening. This is how we were able to engage with the people who had shopped with us, extend our reach to their connections and expand our target audience. We are fortunate enough to be supported by our website designers, Quiet Storm, who have been there every step of the way, advising and supporting us throughout this crisis.”

Clare Southcombe-Holmes Co-owner, No64 Biscuit House

A demonstration is always better than an explanation



Clare realised that every home must have an old piece of furniture that could do with up-cycling, a kitchen or bedroom with cupboards that could do with a lick of paint (you can make a kitchen look brand new for a fraction of the cost of buying a new one!), or someone in the household that would like a new hobby in furniture painting and that fact that Annie Sloan’s world famous chalk paint can be used with no preparation, no priming, no sanding, just paint and experiment with techniques meant it was a clear winner with isolated home owners.


Focusing on what can possibly work was the key

No64 stock everything Annie Sloan and so we’re a one-stop-paint-project-shop, we’re online with a national courier network, and available for kerbside collection, or local delivery, as we live in the same building as our shop.

Clare says: “I love using Annie Sloan products, they’re so easy to use, the techniques are easy to learn, and if you make a mistake you simply start again. It’s such good fun turning a tired piece of furniture, that I could have just as easily taken to the dump, into a period piece, a distressed antique, or as good as new. You can even use it to make yourself some money, upcycling old furniture and then advertising them, or upcycling furniture for other people.”

She continues: “I hoped people would realise their inner-Picasso but I couldn’t have dreamt just how popular the suggestion would be, from dawn to dusk we’ve been fulfilling orders, taking calls, and pleading with Annie Sloan HQ to get our additional orders to us ASAP!”

We’re trained by Annie Sloan herself to run workshops, which we’ll resume once lockdown is lifted, and so we can happily give advice over the phone or email if needed.

If you wish to contact us about furniture paint, start your Annie Sloan journey, or stock up if you’re already a fan you can order from us on, call us on 01590 643765, or email we’d love to hear from you and to give you that something to do you may not realise you’ll have so much fun doing!

Author of this COVID-19 Business Support Hub Article

Stephen Megson, Founder of Love Business and Business Owner

Steve Megson

I'm a keen sailor and experienced in encountering the unknown at sea. With my son, Josh, I sailed my boat to Spain from my home port of Poole, my greatest adventure to date (if you read the blog you'll understand why!). Encountering the unknown is about having a clear goal and making sure you keep focused - no matter what happens.

More About Quiet Storm


Stephen Megson

A business owner since I was 21 –I was one of the 'enterprise allowance'  generation and started my business back in 1987. I've ridden the waves of a few recessions and overcome plenty of unknowns. I understand the pressure of employing people and the emotional rollercoaster times like this put you through. I've been very fortunate in my career to work with many brilliant visionaries. I've learnt much from them, but for those who know me well, know my quest for learning is never satisfied.

I now specialise in behaviour and business process optimisation, so look at how businesses interact with their people, customers and other stakeholders. I then work collaboratively with businesses to drive out waste and optimise their processes. This is largely through some form of digitisation, resulting in web applications and operational software to manage their systems, processes and KPI's.

I'm passionate about business and have a strong sense of community, which is why I started Love Business back in 2012, as I saw the innovative business owners start to thrive whilst other remain in a cycle of self-fulfilling doom as a result of the media channels negative news coverage. This is why Love Business only covers good news, focusses on the positive and looks to share all that's helpful.


How to get in touch with Steve Megson



COVID-19 Business Support Hub

These are challenging times for business and although our ethos is to only shout about good news, we've created COVID-19 Business Support Hub on the Love Business the website to support you with expert tips, advice and ideas from your fellow businesses to help you get through this COVID-19 crisis. 

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