The cost of living crisis is having an impact on our everyday lives, but what about significant milestones – from celebrating a new baby or marriage to saying goodbye to a loved one?
Small business owners in Grangemouth are trying to juggle customer care on the journey from cradle to grave with making ends meet.
Emma Eunson started Wee Cakes ‘n’ Bakes while studying at university and now runs the bakery full time, opening a shop in April.
Her main business comes from orders for bespoke cakes for baby showers, christenings, birthdays and weddings.
But in the past few months, she’s noticed a huge jump in the cost of everything from butter to fuel.
Emma says that, as a one-person operation, she can’t compete with the prices offered by supermarkets.
She told STV News: “I was really reluctant to put up my prices, but I did have to put them up as it’s just not doable on your own.
“I want this to be my job forever – I’m really thankful for all the customers I’ve got, but I think if it continues as it’s gone on, there might be a big impact on people forking out the money on a luxury item like a cake.”
Lynne Fitzpatrick, of florist Poppies and Petals, says that flowers are also now regarded as a luxury.
She runs her Grangemouth shop by herself, with some help from family during busy periods.
And although she feels lucky to be busy with wedding bookings and other orders, there have been changes in customer attitudes.
“With the energy bills going up, it’s obviously costing a lot more for the growers, in their greenhouses, to produce the flowers, so that has an impact on us,” she said.
“Customers have definitely changed the way they’re shopping. There’s not as many buying wrist corsages and things like that now, because obviously going to a wedding as a guest is quite expensive.”
Lynne has also noticed that many are scaling back the amount of floral tributes they order for funerals.
Paul Cuthell runs Thomas Cuthell and Sons Funeral Directors alongside his family. After a tough few years supporting bereaved families during lockdown restrictions, rising costs are now impacting their industry.
It costs a minimum of £100 to fill each of their funeral vehicles, but fuel isn’t the only pressure point.
Raw materials are going up in price, partly because of Brexit, and that pushes up other expenses.
Paul told STV News: “Our two main coffin suppliers have put surcharges onto the coffins we purchase from them. They’re hopeful that they can remove those surcharges in the future, but it’s been like that since Covid came along.
“Soft goods like the handles, the cords, the name plates, the stationery, all of these things are going up in costs as well.
“Sometimes you have to manage people’s expectations, and maybe go about things slightly differently, to try and achieve the funeral they would want to arrange for their loved one.
“If we want to continue to train our staff, if we want to continue to invest in our business, then ultimately we need to ensure we have a steady income.”
The rising cost of living will be examined all week on the STV News website and the STV News at Six.