We didn’t start 2020 planning on being here.
That may sound rather odd, but the events of 2020 have rather forced our hand. We are at heart a full on and busy event production company which has a professional firework display arm. Normally we would be out and about round the country helping to launch ships, celebrate weddings and putting on firework displays. As soon as the first lockdown was announced it became apparent that our current business model was going to be under strain. As we progressed into the summer months the extent of that strain came sharply into focus. Not only was our summer season non-existent, but our 70 plus show contracts over November were starting to fade. We had to do something to keep afloat. We still have to pay for the secure storage of the fireworks, insurance and rents.
In July we took the decision to start a business with the intention of selling retail fireworks for the 2020 season, but we had to act fast. We don’t have a shop premises and didn’t want to incur the additional costs of taking on a shop, so we opted for an online store. Then we had to build one, from scratch, with only a passing knowledge of online stores. We had a name; we had the ideas. All we had to do then was build an online store and decide on products. Over many weeks we built the site, working out our product range, developing the look and feel of the store and learning how to add code to make the store our own. Then we tested to make sure it worked. We tested and then tested some more. Then, that moment of truth as we pressed the button and went ‘live’. Hearts in our mouths, had we done enough? I can’t tell you how exciting it is to physically watch that first sale come onto the system and see the analytics that tell us how our customer got to the point of completing the purchase. After this we began to look at the ‘backroom’ properly, analysing the data and seeing where we can improve. Already the store has had so many tweaks to improve its functionality and feel. Every day is an ‘analysis and adjust’ day to get the site perfect for us and, more importantly, for our customers
As part of the store design we spent time thinking about our market and thought that there may be enough people out there that would want to support an event and firework display company but wouldn’t necessarily want to buy fireworks. We asked the question “What else can we offer that people might want or need?” Firstly, we found a supplier who can tailor make branded items. We added #HEXHero hoodies as well as a mug, water bottle and Tote bag. We then came up with coffee. Who doesn’t like coffee? We are a team of coffee lovers. Now alongside our roasters, who have over 140 years of roasting experience, we have developed a range of #HEXHero coffee with names inspired by fireworks, for example Bonfire Blend and Pyro Powder. The Decaf, possibly unfairly, is called Damp Squib Decaf and is actually rather good. The whole journey for this side of the business has given the team so much satisfaction and pleasure. From receiving the beans, roasted a maximum of 72 hours before delivery, to the aroma that lifts from the packet as the airtight seal is opened for the beans to be ground and the agony of the five-minute wait whilst the coffee brews in the cafetiere.
We keep reminding ourselves that we are at the bottom of the mountain when it comes to developing a new business, but we are determined to succeed and provide the best possible range of retail fireworks available as well as broaden our range of lifestyle products. HEX Fireworks was born out of necessity, but now it’s here - we plan on staying.
We’re geared up, we have our hiking boots on, and we have a route map for that mountain.