PERVERSELY, after coming through what we all have over the last 18 months, now might be the toughest part of all.
In the eye of the storm, one has little option but to turn up one’s collar and lean into the wind.
As Mr Churchill once said, “If you going through hell – keep going.”
It’s only when, at last, we appear blinking and stumbling into relative calm and can take stock of what has happened to us and consider what the future holds. And that is when things can get a bit wobbly.
Sautter is no different to any other business out there; it existed through the pandemic because it was able to rely on Government backed funds when its doors were forcibly closed and thanks to those customers who continued to support the business, if they were only able to do so online.
And now, with the country (all fingers and toes crossed) slowly emerging and reopening again after the huge vaccination roll out, we are able to fling open the doors once again. And the world is a mighty different place.
There are very few overseas visitors, which formed a large part of Sautter clientele, wooed as they were by the lure of a swinging London cigar scene and the ability to find extraordinary Cuban cigars beautifully kept in the heart of Mayfair.
Traffic and footfall, although increasingly on the up and up, is still down on pre-pandemic numbers. Offices and shops aren’t fully manned as they once were; working from home is something that is here to stay.
And so, we are all working to find new paths to make sure our businesses continue to be viable; trying to predict how things will shift and change and what customers might be looking for in today’s world.
Now is the time to stand firm and not stray from the plotted course. Whatever else happens, a few basic tenets will always hold true. Customers will still want a friendly, honest and reliable service; they will expect some authority on their subject, the ability to offer sound advice and steer them in the right direction. They want to be entertained, not just sold to; they want to feel part of something greater than just some bricks, a fancy window or a glossy website promising to undercut anyone out there.
This is where we believe Sautter scores. We have thousands of friends and customers from every corner of the globe. We look forward to welcoming as many back as possible in the coming weeks and months, for there’s nothing like a full row of chuffing friends at Mount Street, not to mention the fantastic new Sautter cigar destination at Knightsbridge, manned by the tour de force that is Tomasz Sroka, the puffing pole.
But we will continue to reach out to you wherever you may be with our groundbreaking live and YouTube blind tastings; our fun nights with cigarmakers both new and old; our weekly Instagram live shows – and in many other new and fun ways as well to make sure that if the ground under your feet feels a little wobbly, you can still reach out for your Sautter cigar.
It remains, as ever, a reliable and comforting source of support.