We meet with Andi the landlady from the Feathers in Laleham. A visionary landlady who saw the potential with the Sittingsuits very early on. In fact the first pub in the UK to begin offering Sittingsuits to her customers.
Like most of us covid has had a major impact on her business. However if you ever get to meet her in person, you will find a woman of incredible strength, resilience and someone who doesn’t give up but adapts with speed. She is a joy to be around and plenty of laughter was had during the conversation now shared.
How did the covid restrictions affect your pub?
To be honest it has not been easy, trade is down 50% as customers are hesitant to go to the pub. However with all the measures we are putting in place, the pub is probably the safest place to be. We sanitise, take temperature on everyone who enters and ensure social distancing.
What did you think when you first heard of Sittingsuits?
To be perfectly honest I thought they were ridiculous (“okay that stung slightly”).... until I sat in one on a rainy afternoon in the beer garden (“phew we are happy again”). Trying them on totally changed my mind so cosy and warm. I saw the potential.
What reservations did you have about Sittingsuits?
The covid concern was the main one that immediately crossed my mind. However once I tried washing them and I realised that they do in fact dry in just 15 minutes it allayed my fears. We bought a fair amount of Sittingsuits so we can easily rotate them while washing the used ones.
What made you buy Sittingsuits for your pub?
I wanted to care for my customers to ensure their comfort when seated outside. I knew I now and for the foreseeable future had limited indoor space and therefore more customers seated outside. In a way it was also an investment to ensure they would stay, be comfortable and return.
How much do you spend on electric and patio heaters?
22p a minute for a single electric heater it's bloody expensive. I would much rather that customers dress warm plus it’s better for the environment.
What do the customers think when offered a Sittingsuit?
Mostly they are grateful as the weather has turned really cold. I often go outside to offer them when I see they look chilly. Very few of them have hesitations due to covid. Sittingsuits allow my customers to sit outside for longer. In fact most of them now prefer to sit outside as they feel safer.
What impact have Sittingsuits had on your business?
Mainly enabled customers to stay outside for longer. Warm and comfortable customers eat and drink for longer.
Would you recommend Sittingsuits for other businesses?
Absolutely I think other pubs, hotels and restaurants should. Anyone with outside space really.
It is clear from our short conversation with Andi that she deeply cares for her customers and also her business. Other initiatives were mentioned to overcome the covid restrictions and situation. She will soon have a greater area covered to keep the alfresco area dry. I hope locals will continue to support this great local business and should you have become interested in learning more about Sittingsuits please get in touch or why not go visit The Feathers in Laleham to see the benefits for yourself.
Stay safe, stay warm and let’s carry on.