Westminister souvenirs 16/01/2011
Houssan was working when I visited on Sunday afternoon. It was my first time speaking to any shop owners so i told him that I was interested in the tourism industry and that the shop would form part of a case study. Houssan was interested in my study, he was doing a MIT MA at UEL and had just handed in his dissertation on business in the flower industry. The grassroots nature of certain independent flower shops were under threat with the online flower market. I asked if this shop had a website, he replied no, they have only been open a year. Westminister souveniers is open 7 days a week , 10am to 11pm. He said that the London souvenier industry is limited , the geographic restrictions for example no one will buy an I love London hat in ealing broadway. It is all about location in the souvenier trade, and although they were well positioned on westminister bridge, Hassan says the shop is unnoticed with people trying to get to the London eye. Although the building of the plaza roundabout just down the road has bought a lot more tourists to the area, they are distracted with reaching the London eye. Hassan notices that different nationalities like different things, Australians like kitchen accessories, Spanish and italian like clothes and the Germans like the snowglobes. He also notes that females are lot more interested than males, no matter what nationality.
Hassan finds the busiest times of the year are easter and New Year , but in the weekday trade will be slow with 1 customer per hour. Hassan works part time in the store and did want me taking pictures within the shop, he indicated the cctv and stressed that this conversation already looks suspicious. I also felt like Hassan was unsure about my intentions, there was a degree of privacy and protectionism, which perhaps was partly induced by my unclear approach.