Retail consultant John Ashworth spends all year sourcing an A-Z of swan-related items from trade shows and exhibitions. John works with staff to ensure gift shops at Abbotsbury Swannery, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens and the Children's Farm are swanshape.
John Houston, General Manager of Abbotsbury Tourism, heard of John Ashworth through a contact at London department store, Fenwick. He says: "John Ashworth is a shopping guru. He weaves a sort of magic when he puts stock on the shelves. He increases our sales by making the consumer want to touch things and pick them up. Our takings are up on the last year - how many retailers can say that in the current climate?"
John Ashworth says: "It's really important to us to buy British - cushions, biscuits, postcards - you name it, if its got a swan on it we're interested! This year we love the swan-themed Nina Campbell mugs we found at the Spring Fair in Birmingham.
"We also work with companies that make us bespoke items. For example, Quail creates mute swans made of china. There's a whole home range including toast racks, money boxes, and salt & pepper shakers." The company is currently looking for a British soap manufacturer that can make them a swan soap.
"This season we've bought into the driftwood trend, which fits in really well with Abbotsbury Swannery's location on the Jurassic coast," he continues. "Heart motifs are also very on trend. The image of a pair of swans bending their elegant necks and touching beaks is a symbol of romance and mating for life."
Posted: 22 March 2019