I know I’ve gone quiet recently, but I can now tell you why!
Writing this blog has made me get out and discover so many inspiring people, places and businesses in the area, and I have seen how difficult it can be for everybody relying on such a seasonal economy and in many cases, a limited local population.
To address this, I am launching my new enterprise, the Jurassic Coast Card, which will give members discounts on products and services in return for an annual fee. It will be free for businesses to join; they will just need to offer an exclusive deal or discount to cardholders, and in return get lots of marketing and advertising to enable them to widen their profiles and make their businesses less seasonal. I want to offer a really good range of shops, attractions, services, accommodation and local enterprises, and get as many people as possible out finding new places, and hopefully turning to their local independent businesses before automatically heading to the high street or online options.
There will be two cards – an Annual Pass for £24, valid for a year, aimed at residents and purchased through the website, and a Holiday Pass for £10, valid for 1 month, aimed at holiday-makers and purchased over-the counter in tourist attractions, TICs, holiday parks etc.
There is no cost to businesses to join – all I need is a deal or offer that would be attractive to locals, to get them visiting & becoming loyal customers. For example, a typical offer could be a ‘Buy one, get one free’ on coffees, 10% off a product or service, a ‘Happy Hour’ type deal to stimulate quiet times, or a seasonal special. I really want this to be a very cost-effective way for businesses to boost their year-round trade, expand their customer base, and build a sense of local belonging and excitement.
I have met lots of small business owners, artists etc who just don’t have the time, budget or confidence to do lots of marketing, especially on social media such as Twitter etc, but there is a really lively network locally, and if I can help people tap into that, I think it will help enormously. So far I have been approached by businesses of all shapes and sizes, including cafes, holiday parks, shops, local online retailers, services as varied as tutoring and seafood delivery, B&Bs, craftspeople and a gym, so I think the appeal will be hugely varied, both for customers and providers!
The branding and design side have been great fun to develop – I approached Wes Dowell and his team at Coastline Creative as I have worked with him before and liked his fresh ideas, and he was so enthusiastic about the whole idea, he offered to join forces and take on the creative & IT side, which has been such a relief! The branding is all about clean, fresh and fun, as I wanted to make it clear that the Jurassic Coast is not just fossils and rocks but is as much about the future as the past. The waves in the logo are reminiscent of both the sea and the rock strata, and the colours are the chalky white of Durdle Door, the gold of Golden Cap, the red of Sidmouth and Ladram Bay, and the blue of the sea and sky.
I am still signing up businesses at the moment, but I’m hoping to have cards on sale very soon. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for updates, and see the website for more details.
If you have a business on the Jurassic Coast, I really hope you’d like to be involved – to find out more, please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website at www.jurassiccoastcard.co.uk.
And, when we go on sale in the new year, make sure you also buy one, and get out there exploring!