A STUDLEY coffee house owner whose business has gone from strength to strength despite being closed for ten weeks has revealed the secret to its success.

Mum of two Ella Clarke launched Bumbles Coffee House & Lifestyle on Alcester Road in Studley in November 2019 after a year of planning her vision for an eco-friendly coffee house and a space where the community could host workshops and events.

However, just four months after opening, she had to close her doors as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the country.

Fortunately, having attended a series of Digital workshops focused on supporting retailers in January 2020 Ella was able to take on board advice, and continue to grow her business, even during lockdown.

The workshops were delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Stories Marketing, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme. The workshops shared insights into how businesses can use social media and other digital tools to drive traffic to their website.

It was here that the seeds for her business’s success during lockdown were sown, and the techniques she learned here would go on to see Ella accruing more than 1,000 new Instagram followers while her business was closed.

Ella said: “When coronavirus took hold there was no way I was going to let nearly two years of hard work go to waste, so I turned my attention to improving my online presence.

“Looking back now, I could not have attended the digital workshops at a better time, as I had learned some intelligent approaches to using Instagram and Facebook to reach more of my target audiences, which are mainly those in their mid-20s who like socialising, as well as my working customers who use my venue for wi-fi and meeting clients.

“One of the biggest learning curves for me was using Instagram and Facebook’s analytical tools to help inform my business’s future behaviour on the platforms.

“When we had to close our doors for three months, we did the opposite online and ensured we were talking to our existing customers. Although we couldn’t offer a service, we posted conversational posts about what coffee people were missing for example, as well as competitions - and this proved to be really beneficial because we were doing this at a time when more people were at home and scrolling on their phones.

“Before we knew it, we had built up an extra 1,000 social media followers and had a strong community ready to access our new click and collect service when we eventually reopened. Now we are fully reopened these followers have become loyal customers, both click and collect and ‘eating in’.

“In hindsight, the digital workshops provided a lifeline for my business as it enabled my coffee house to stay relevant at a time when I wasn’t able to trade - I would recommend the workshops to any entrepreneur out there that is looking to grow their business.”

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Stories Marketing will be delivering similar Digital Retail Skills Training sessions to retailers across the county on behalf of Warwickshire County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme.

The sessions are being offered as part of a £5million package of support from Warwickshire County Council to boost the immediate economic recovery of the county.