I’m going to kick off this week’s column by wishing everyone who reads it and comments online (even the not so nice ones), a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
I know a lot of people think that Valentine’s Day is just another ploy to get people to buy greetings cards that they don’t really need, and waste money on teddies and chocolates, but I certainly don’t feel that way.
Now, I’m no big romantic, but I am a fan of Valentine’s Day, for two main reasons.
Firstly I think it’s so easy to forget to tell your nearest and dearest that you love them. We are all so busy dashing around at work and juggling family life that often we simply become ships that pass in the night. Then throw into the mix our obsession with mobile phones (I totally included myself in this), and our constant tweeting, posting, email checking and texting, it’s all to easy not to have a conversation.
Now I don’t want to sound all soppy here (it will ruin my street cred!), but if we aren’t having face to face conversations like we used to, then we must be saying ‘I love you’ less to our nearest and dearest.
So with all of this going on, I think it’s only right that we take at least one day out of our busy year to celebrate those we love.
The second reason for my love of Valentine’s Day makes me remove my ‘lovey-dovey’ hat, and put on my business hat.
Valentine’s is a marketing dream for most businesses. You don’t have to be a chocolatier or florist to reap the benefits of Valentine’s.
Restaurants benefit hugely, and in turn so do local suppliers, and thinking more broadly so do hair salons and beauty therapists, as many people seek to make a bit more of an effort for a good night out. But it doesn’t stop there.
Many will opt for a new outfit for the occasion and then lots of couples buy each other a gift (we don’t- although if you’re reading this Mr.Cooke, you know I never say no to Ferrero Rocher). Some couples go to a whole other level and get engaged on Valentine’s Day...so jewelers benefit and further down the line so do those in the wedding industry.
The reach that Valentine’s Day has is huge, and the great thing about it is there is a vast opportunity for local businesses. So if you are someone who is a bit of a Valentine’s scrooge because you think it’s all a big waste of money and it’s way too commercial, remember that you don’t have to buy your card from the supermarket, you could buy it from a local card shop. You don’t have have to go to Newcastle for a big fancy meal, you could choose one of Sunderland’s many fabulous places to eat. You don’t have to choose a national company to deliver your loved one’s flowers, you could use a florist in Sunderland...and for those popping the question...you don’t have to choose a large jeweler chain when you could choose a Sunderland based jeweler instead.
I hope everyone has a love-filled Valentine’s Day, and remembers to choose Sunderland first.