JUST two minutes of national screen time generated more than a month’s worth of online sales for a small York retailer.
Phil Pinder said the response to his shop, The Potions Cauldron, being showcased on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch programme had been ‘phenomenal’.
He and business partner Ben Fry took their wares to the studio after successfully responding to a call-out on Twitter for small businesses to apply to appear on the live show with presenter Steph McGovern.
As luck would have it, one of the show’s researchers lives in York and knew all about the Shambles-based shop, and they were invited on.
“They have been doing a mini pop-up market each day,” said Phil.
The duo set up their stall to promote their products, including their magical drinkable potions, to the presenters and wider audience.
During his interview, Ben talked about the shimmering soft drinks and introduced their ‘magic meter’, a liquid-filled glass instrument which bubbles when held in the hand of anyone who is magical.
“Steph had a go with one of those and thankfully it bubbled!” said Phil.
“I was sat in the Green Room next door and just watching the internet, and every time I refreshed it there were a few more orders.
“In the space of about four minutes we’d done a normal good day online. After about five or six minutes we had done nearly a month’s trade online.
“It just kept on going. It went all night and we made up for probably two weeks of lockdown. We haven’t fully recovered all our costs but it’s phenomenal to be able to sell that much.
“From two minutes of TV to get so much money is unbelievable.”
The boost came at a time when it was most needed, said Phil, who is preparing to launch a mini golf centre in the Coppergate Centre, York, with Ben.
“We hadn’t planned on a second lockdown and we had invested in the golf centre which we are going to be opening soon; funds were getting tight and we were looking at how we would get by.
“We are really grateful to Channel4 and Steph for the opportunity. Support is really important for small businesses right now.
“Moving from being a high street presence to an online presence isn’t a simple switch. We have been doing ok. Our online turnover is still less than a tenth of what we do in the shop so while it’s nice extra income, it in no way covers all the bills, so a boost like this was amazing.”
The Potions Cauldron has been selling a Christmas party gift box at half price during the lockdown, with a selection of popular items, which Phil said had been doing well. “We have filled one large Royal Mail post van. We had a busy weekend. It’s all very exciting.”
The duo also took their ‘magical car’, a Ford Anglia adapted to show off their products, which caught the attention of the show’s celebrity guest Michael Portillo.