We are delighted to share that we have entered the Visit York Tourism Awards! We're so excited to be taking part in these competitions that "aim to shine a spotlight on excellence in York’s tourism and cultural sectors, rewarding quality, innovation and customer service." In writing our applications, we realised what we have achieved in the 9 months we have been open and thought our customers might be interested to know more about what goes on behind the scenes!
We have entered 3 categories:
- Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award
- New Tourism Business Award
Retailer of the Year
We have populated our sustainability page with useful and interesting information from our Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award application.
As for the New Tourism Business Award and Retailer of the Year competitions, read on to find out what we've shared with the judges!
We launched our website at the start of November 2021 with our shop on Colliergate opening 2 weeks later. We wanted to create a product that was kind to the environment but with the luxury details and finishes that elevate us from most “green” brands. We target a handful of different customer personas that include a gift buyer, a young professional and a student with a focus on the female market. We designed our offering to be as easy to gift as possible: on the spot personalisation is available in store, allowing customers to add a name or initial to e.g. a notebook in beautiful gold foil; we wrap all orders in 100% circular tissue and recyclable gift boxes are available in multiple sizes. We have recently added greetings cards to our offering upon customer request – all designed and made in our Colliergate studio! Gift givers make up the majority of our market, but we often receive further business from the recipients of Avorium gifts! A big milestone for us was attending our first event – Living North Live at York Racecourse in March. This was a brilliant opportunity for us to showcase our brand alongside other products as well as learn from other exhibitors. Another key moment was taking on our first employee – this took our team from the 3 siblings (and volunteers mum and dad!) to 4! Our new addition, Ella, helps us out on a Saturday when things are hectic and totally shares our passion for ethical luxury.
We are a siblings-run business!
Being a small family-run, local business, we always like to ensure that one of the owners are available both in store and via online communication to resolve any customer queries. Customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do, which goes hand in hand with our passion to provide the best services – from product, to packaging, to personalisation. At the time of writing, we have had over 100 reviews all of which have been 5 stars! As a new business, this credibility and brand trust we are earning is one of our proudest achievements to date.
Our products are unique and high quality!
The primary concept of Avorium is allowing our customers to curate their workspace with match desk accessories. Available in 8 pastel colours, you can either style your desk with a single tone or mix and match across our collections! Having previous experience in the world of stationery, we have taken every step to ensure that even the small details are optimised for our customers. From paper thickness to lie flat binding, our customers can rest assured they are using the best-in-class accessories.
Interreacting with hundreds of customers every week, we find it very important to react to queries and suggestions. Since launching in 2021, we have made plenty of improvements and additions to our offering. For example, we now offer 2 different types of pen: a luxury, gold fountain pen as well as a practice yet stylish ballpoint. Recently, we have started offering greetings cards to our gift-wrapped orders. Completely designed and produced in house, we are completely flexible to our customers’ needs – we sold out of birthday cards on our first day!
One of our best features is our ability to personalise in store in minutes. This is particularly great for tourists, as there is no need to come back later, we can personalise with any name, date, quotation or language on the spot!
We have had plenty of enquiries from corporate clients too. Avorium can take your concept and, working with our in-house design team and factory database, bring your ideas to life!
We take every step we can to save the planet!
Since day one, our environmental impact has been central to how we run our business. As well as being a core value of our staff, we also see how important our sustainability efforts are for our customers. It is so important to us, that we have a dedicated page on our website where people can visit to see all our endeavours in this area. Please see the link below to view this page!
We are York people!
Despite being a very new business, we have really tried to engage with the local community as much as we possibly can. From supporting local charities, to partnering with local businesses (York Mind, Botanic, Ambient Co) we want to give back to the rich culture that we have lived amongst since we were children.
We are always adding to our product range!
Since we launched, we have had to adapt to customer behaviour and our own changes in expectations. For example, the majority of our products are bought as gifts. We have catered to this demand by offering gift bundles to our customers. This enables consumers to easily curate a gift that has been predesigned by us.
As well as personalising with names and initials, we have expanded this service to include shapes, logos and other designs. This has been a real hit with small local businesses looking to elevate their brand. We do not put a MOQ on any corporate orders, so we cater to businesses of any and every size!
Upskilling the team!
As a start-up, we are constantly evolving and elevating our skills base. In March, Olivia embarked on a 10-week course to improve her knowledge of digital marketing, allowing us to bring this work in house.
Later this year, Georgia will be enrolling in a web development qualification meaning we will not have to rely on external expertise to make changes to our website. Georgia is also training in first aid to ensure the safety of both our staff and customers.
We have invested in and trained on a new personalisation machine which means we can offer our personalisation service to a much larger range of our products.
Catering to our local customers!
With sustainability always at the heart of our business, we have started offering additional delivery options to our customers. For online orders, we now provide a collection service in store. This is often more convenient and environmentally friendly.
For online orders in the York area, we now utilise the services of York Collective. They are a carbon neutral delivery service that fulfil our orders in a matter of hours. As well as providing a quicker service to our customers, we are delighted we can do this in a sustainable and by utilising another local business.
Our Desk Configurator
Curating your workspace can be a very personal task. It often takes customers a while to decide on their aesthetic and products. To ease this process, we have installed a touchscreen desk configurator on both our website and in our shop. This allows you to design your desk before committing to a purchase.
This has been incredibly popular, and we are glad we can offer this easy solution to our more indecisive customers! Our desk configurator can be viewed below:
Helping the Planet!
As a brand, we like to focus on promoting people’s health and wellbeing. As a result, we have designed and sell in our shop a Health Journal. For every journal that we have sold, we donated £5 to York Mind. So far, we have donated £125 to the charity!
We try to control our carbon footprint as much we can. We have offset our carbon footprint by 200%. So far, we have planted 115 trees and supported 4 projects globally.
We recently launched ballpoint pens for sale in our shop. We plant a tree for every pen sold, so our customers can also benefit the planet by shopping with us!
During August, we launched our back-to-school offer, allowing all our customers to buy notebooks at a discounted price. This was a roaring success, and we saw our notebook sales double from the previous period!
We offer personalisation to enable our customers to add a unique touch to their desk accessories. As it is cheap, quick to add and gives such a luxurious feel, this has been incredibly successful. Of all of our sales this year where personalisation could have been added to our products, our customers utilised this service over 50% of the time!
Helping Tourists find us!
We affix QR codes to our shopping bags as well as including them on Avorium business cards (which are available in the shop). This is particularly useful for tourists who want to visit our website after a trip to York. Since including this feature, we have had plenty of visits to our website from QR code scans, with only 2% of these happening locally in York.
Increasing our Corporate Offering!
After spending our first year growing our customer base and understanding of brand, we are now starting to increase our suite of services to corporate customers. From corporate branding and wholesale, to drop shipping and bespoke product development, we can now offer our products to clients of every size and budget! We are really excited to expand this section of Avorium in the coming months and years. This is a unique service and we are keen to explore this gap in the market further.
New Avorium Locations!
We are really keen to improve our visibility as a brand and become more accessible to our customers. Having trialled a few secondary locations since launch, we are now in a position to expand our brand a lot more. Later this year, we will be participating in both Living North Live at York racecourse, as well as the York Christmas Market. We hope this will improve our credibility as a brand and allow us to attract more customers. We are also trialling a new location at Covent Garden in London, which we aim to make full time position if successful!
Looking forward to our Second year!
There are plenty of ways that Avorium is growing in the short and medium terms. We are currently in the process of training two new recruits to add to our current team.
Following on from some customer conversations and feedback, we also intend to expand our current product range even further. We have mugs arriving in time for the Christmas season as well as other options which are still being designed and tested.
Bringing in new people, expanding our product range, offering new services and reaching people in new location are all things we are super excited about pursuing and growing into 2023.
So there you have it - all the behind the scenes info on what makes up the Avorium brand! We hope you found it interesting and if you have any comments or questions about anything written above, please do get in touch! We're looking forward to seeing how we get on in the competitions - wish us luck!