Annual Report 2022/23
Whatever happened to the idea that post-Covid life was going to be easy...!? We've had a very 'up and down' sort of year at Spicery HQ, full of unexpected events but with a few bright spots too!
Christmas is always our busiest time of year, but this December was a bit of a disaster as the Royal Mail strikes seemed to scare many people off ordering online, and led to our worst December sales for nearly 10 years.
Having so many late deliveries and unhappy customers was really frustrating, and we can only apologise again if your order was delayed. We always pack and send orders very quickly, but the disruption was so massive and unprecedented that lots of orders got stuck outside mail centres for weeks before they were even scanned into the system, let alone delivered!
The obvious question after that is: why do we still use Royal Mail and not just switch to another courier? Well, the truth is that over the last 15 years we've always found Royal Mail to be the most reliable and efficient service - the error rate must be less than one in a thousand, and we have hundreds of customers in remote and rural locations, so the fact that Royal Mail delivers everywhere in the UK (the only courier to do so) is a huge advantage.
Our products are specifically designed to be small and lightweight to fit the Royal Mail system which makes them very cheap to post, so we can offer you 'free' delivery. That's something we'd really like to retain in future, but we've also added a UPS delivery option at the checkout and will continue to review our different options.
On the positive side... one big highlight was the fact we've now hit over 100,000 book sales across the Legend cookbook range! It's an incredible milestone as our first print run in 2017 was only 4000 books and it seemed like we'd never sell them all!
Our latest book (launched in September) was Curry Legend Chef's Specials, which focuses on the much-loved British Indian restaurant, and how it has revolutionised the tastes of this country, creating an entirely new cuisine mixing Indian, Bangladeshi and British influences.
We loved working on this project as it revealed how much fantastic food is right under our noses - research trips included Glasgow (to taste the original Chicken Tikka Masala), Bradford (the 'Curry Capital' of the UK) and Birmingham (the home of the Balti), as well as learning about the centuries-long story of Indian food in London.
To help put the Special into 'Chef's Specials', we reintroduced the outer storage tins (which have had a beautiful makeover!), and it's great to hear that you love the new design and the fact that they stack so neatly.
New projects this year include the Taco Legend World Tour book (investigating how Mexican food and flavours have become so popular around the world) a new Cooks Tour of South-East Asia giftbox, Spicery merch, and perhaps a new Chinese cookbook - watch your Spicemails for details!
Thank you for your patience during what was a rather traumatic Christmas period - we hope you enjoy the new books and fingers crossed everything really does calm down and go back to 'normal' from now on!
James (Spicery founder and owner)
Read our previous annual reports!