Continuing on with our Open Conversations series we speak to Murray Crane of Crane Brothers about how he is coping in the face of adversity. There is a common theme throughout these conversations of resilience and survival. Our wedding community is tough and adapting quickly to what is happening. Although we don’t have a clear path of what is to happen over the coming months, we do feel a strong sense of community and hope for the future. Speaking with Murray has helped to cement these feelings.
What is your business doing at this time to adjust to the current landscape?
Trying not to panic and reassuring our staff and customers, so they don’t feel anxious or concerned. Communication is key in these scenarios.
Across the business we are ramping up our usual processes; we have good visibility and communication across our supply chain. The benefit of being a boutique business in times like this is that we can be very nimble and quick to make changes. Being smaller also allows us to have strong personal relationships with our clients and strong partnerships with our suppliers, they know us, they trust us, and we can communicate across these communities very quickly.
What feedback are you receiving from your customers:
They are appreciating why they came to Crane Brothers in the first place. It comes back to communication again, they are feeling looked after, we are being flexible with wedding postponement dates, and they trust us.
How are you managing risk?
Thankfully risk mitigation has always been a priority at Crane Brothers. Additional timeframes have always been built into our production timelines to combat unforeseen circumstances and potential emergencies beyond our control. Because of this, production timelines are being maintained. We are still receiving deliveries from our European suppliers, and we are still operating with as much normality as the environment is allowing.
We have not missed a wedding in over 20 years and we will be fiercely working to protect this reputation.
How are you feeling personally?
Like everyone at the moment I am feeling anxious, I am concerned about my staff, my customers, my community and my business. Everyone is under stress at the moment, but we are working together to look after each other.
Have you implemented anything specifically this week in the business in light of the situation?
We are thinking of how we can help people. We have quite a few older customers, some who live alone and we want to make sure they are coping, especially at a time where our staff maybe have a little extra time with business being slower. My staff and I are checking in with them to see if they need groceries delivered or errands run and that they are generally okay. We are also in regular contact with our international team and team members based in Milan, Rome and Florence to offer them moral support.
What messages do you want to get out there to couples planning to marry in the near future, particularly those booked for suiting with you?
Reassess and make sure you are doing the right thing timing and numbers-wise, cover off your risk. If you have to postpone or downscale do so and trust that it will work out.
Regardless of whether or not they are a Crane Brothers customer, our doors are open to help. We do know that some supply chains elsewhere have been compromised and some suits cannot be delivered on time for weddings. We have been helping in this scenario, we do have off the rack product and an operating workroom that can customise fit.
What do you predict for the future for your business and the wedding sector?
Once this is all over I think there will be a spike in weddings. Firstly from the postponements being rescheduled and I think more people will become engaged, this will be a test of peoples relationships, and the bonds that grow stronger will be more likely to be celebrated with marriage.
And I think weddings will become smaller, which, to be honest, was something we were noticing before the outbreak.
What are you thankful for at the moment?
My amazing staff who are all working so hard and supporting each other. And my long-term customers.
I’m also thankful for this happening now and not right at the start or in the middle of the peak wedding season.
What are you looking forward to?
Getting through it. And I am hoping people will view the world differently after this, that they will gravitate towards a more simple way of life and that they will become kinder.