Cultural and Responsible Retailing Policy
Date of policy: August 2019, reviewed August 2022
This policy draws on two essential elements: the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden (the Garden), and cultural retailing.
The Garden is a well-loved and supported community asset. Our vision is to inspire the appreciation and conservation of our region’s plants through conservation, education, and recreation.
Cultural retailing is a noble venture elevated above the ordinary by its commitment to the organisation’s mission and inherent responsibilities, challenging it to find the balance between culture and commerce. Staff within the space are mission delivery agents and brand ambassadors and may be the only staff visitors encounter during their visit.
It is also understood that a shop, along with a café, is a ‘must-have service’ to meet visitor expectations - it contributes to the visitor experience, and to revenue.
There is a basic human impulse that provides us with an understanding of relationships to objects. They enable us to capture and archive memories, feelings, and stories. Objects are receptacles or repositories that connect us to ourselves, people, places, and to our values.
As cultural retailers, we curate opportunities for people to continue their connection with the Garden and all that it stands for. Merchandise sold in the Garden shop:
- affirms the messaging received throughout the visit (an integral part of the visit)
- provides a take-home reinforcement
- supports and expands the onsite education, engagement, and experience.
Our vision is to inspire the appreciation and conservation of our region’s plants through conservation, education, and recreation.
Our mission is to:
- value, protect, and evolve a much-loved community asset that can connect people with plants in a meaningful and relevant way, for now, and well into the future
- build community connections by facilitating a diverse range of inclusive activities and events that cater to all sectors of the community.
- set ourselves the highest possible environmental standards by:
- minimising resource use
- incorporating rainwater use and practical water conservation methods
- reducing our energy use through solar energy and design technology
- reducing, reusing, and recycling our waste.
Our principles are:
- Conservation: understanding, protecting, and restoring plant biodiversity and habitats
- Education: promoting the importance of plants in natural and cultural landscapes
- Recreation: managing our Garden facilities for all to enjoy.
Our customer groups
Our vision, mission, and principles are integral to providing the direction and delivery of cultural retailing at the Garden.
People that visit the retail area fall into two groups:
- visitors who become impulse shoppers, whether for souvenirs, gifts, or as supporters of our mission,
- dedicated buyers who visit the shop specifically to make a purchase as they are committed to buying.
Both groups derive pleasure from the fact that their purchase supports the work of the Garden. In fact, that may initially be the primary reason for their purchase.
There is potential, especially within the impulse buying visitor group, for this to include children, whether on a school trip or with family, who have money ‘burning a hole in their pocket’. We need to be mindful and considerate of this group when selecting and displaying merchandise.
Whichever group a shopper falls within, we aim for the experience and the product to be equal. This is why visitors always come first, and retailing second in this shared space.
When considering which items we should sell at the shop, potential merchandise should honour and reflect, or demonstrate the:
- vision, mission, and principles of the Garden
- unique nature and branding of our organisation
- visitor’s experience.
We can achieve this by selecting items and ensuring that:
- they are Australian made, where possible
- they provide conservational, educational, and recreational opportunities across age ranges
- they showcase the talents of local artisans and producers, especially where items are produced in a sustainable way
- all items are safe
- we source items that cause the least environmental harm throughout the supply chain
- they act as an alternative choice to any existing environmentally damaging product.
We will also consider these questions before we stock an item in the shop:
- Is the packaging natural, recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, or non-existent (rather than over-packaged using single-use plastics)?
- Does the product provide an alternative to plastic or to single-use material?
- Is it well made and built to last and repairable, or is it disposable?
- Is it made from natural materials?
- Is it produced within Australia or better still, locally made?
- Is it displaying regional species? If not, does it have a place here for some other purpose?
- Is it environmentally or scientifically accurate?
- Does it connect people with plants and encourage meaningful interactions?
- Does it encourage a greater understanding and respect for the environment?
- Does it encourage creativity and solution-finding?
- Does it respect cultural heritage and provenance?
- Is it ethically sourced?
- Does it respect IP and copyright?
- Does it clearly show our commitment to the environment, flora, fauna, and people, as reflected by our logo?
- Is it commercially viable? If not, is it significant enough for it to be cross-subsidised or sold without profit?
- Does it make sense to have this product available from the Garden, or will it need extra signage to explain why it has a place?
We will use these questions to evaluate the merit of a product before it finds a place on a retail shelf within the Visitor Centre. It would be difficult to find any product that could meet all these requirements. However, we must make a commitment to give serious consideration and preference to products that follow a reasonable number of these requirements.
In establishing the Garden as a model of cultural and responsible retailing, we have the opportunity to develop unique brands and experiences and to facilitate positive changes in consumer behaviour. Therefore, it will be necessary to develop interpretation throughout the retailing area that informs our choices and considers our responsibilities and those of our visitors. Through this, we can achieve a hybrid space that is both a museum-style display and a store in which visitors can:
- continue their experience of the Garden, its vision, mission, and principles
- make informed purchasing decisions that reflect their unique Garden experience.
While signage in the retail area will predominantly reflect the products and their environmental credentials, we will also incorporate personal stories and community partnerships that exhibit support for the environment and the Garden. All signage will align with the current Garden Style Guidelines and adopt Eurobodalla Shire Council's Writing Guide ‘plain English’ approach.
Roles: Garden Merchandising Committee and Manager
The Garden's Merchandising Committee (the Committee) will consist of:
- members of the Friends Merchandising Sub-Committee,
- Garden Visitor Services staff.
The Committee's role in curating a cohesive merchandise collection will be to assess all products for their appropriateness in consideration of the points outlined on this page. In doing so, they will need to follow the Garden's branding and style guidelines. Committee members will also need to have an awareness of current and emerging retail trends and practices.
The role of the Eurobodalla Shire Council-appointed Botanic Garden Manager as the person responsible for the Garden site, staff, and volunteers, will be to oversee the Visitor Centre operations ensuring that a consistent standard and message is achieved.
In the event that a product selected and stocked does not meet sufficient desirable criteria or may be considered inappropriate, the Garden Manager will have the authority to maintain the standards. In some instances, this may result in removing the product from sale.
Merchandising Committee meetings
The Merchandising Committee will meet a minimum of four times each year to discuss budgets, products, promotions, sales, and any other related retail issues. It is not anticipated that the Garden Manager will be a member of this committee. However, the Garden Manager may attend the meetings from time to time or be invited to provide:
- updates on Visitor Centre matters
- guidance on any products or issues considered by the committee as relevant, potentially contentious, or impacting on general operations.
The Visitor Centre is in a unique and exciting position to become a model of responsible retailing; a premier visitor experience that embodies our commitment to do what we can to help our planet.
Our shop has the power to influence change, and as custodians of our region's flora, it is our duty to set a good example in whatever way we can to help nurture and protect it.
If you have questions about our Cultural and Responsible Retailing Policy, contact the Garden Manager, Michael Anlezark:
- T: 4471 2544
- E: Michael Anlezark