At Printed by us, stalls are our bread and butter, we sell our stock online and through various stockists in the city.
We organise and run our pop-up stalls at various locations throughout Sheffield, but it is our stalls where we get to meet our lovely customers and share our stories of overcoming challenges and how much of a difference Printed By us has made in all of our lives.
It was only a couple of weeks before a very busy Christmas time, and we had just been told we had been approved for a store in the Meadowhall shopping complex.
British Land is a leading property company company who collaborate, manage and lease outstanding properties here in the UK.
We approached them and told them a little about us and what we do, it was with delight and not a little surprise that they agreed to lease us a store in Meadowhall for the princely sum of zero pounds.
Our unit which was on the top level of the Meadowhall store was located next to some of the giant's of the garments industry such as Top Shop, Debenhams, and River Island to name a few.
We opened our store with great excitement on the twelfth of December, it was certainly a new experience for my colleagues and me, there was a vast difference between running a stall at a craft fair or a farmers market and running a busy shop in a massive and bustling shopping complex.
We initially had a quiet start as with the short notice we did not get a lot of time to prepare advertising and marketing for our new shop.
Within a few days however things had started to pick up, then things started to gain some momentum, an appearance on BBC Radio Sheffield by myself and Terry raising awareness of our project and our current shop at Meadowhall.
It was this and the sterling and amazing work completed by our Marketing team that started to draw more people to our store.
Some days could be uniquely challenging, and it was hard to not take the bad days personally, it was us, our stories, and enthusiasm for our products and our project that was our unique selling point.
I love working at our stalls and in our shop, it is very challenging but hugely rewarding.
When a potential customer enters our shop they are met by our friendly, enthusiastic, and professional team.
We oftentimes share our personal stories with them, I love the moment of recognition and amazement in people's eyes when they find out that their cash, instead of going into the bottomless dark pits of the giants, goes directly to paying our wages and helping us to grow and to help more vulnerable people.
My own personal method of sales is not to sell, but to tell.
I simply tell them a true story, about how much of an impact the store they are standing in has had in my own life.
I explain that in the summer of 2017 I was released from prison, and the day upon my release I came to this wonderful project, and here I remain, stable, secure, clean, and happy and standing before them.
I gently also point out that you will not hear a personal story of hope in our larger neighbours stores.
At Printed By us, we love what we do, but we love even more when our newest customers do.
By: Chris Lynam