I’m sure you’ll agree that the past four weeks have been incredibly testing times. We just wanted to send out a huge thank you to all our customers for supporting us through this, having patience with the delays, sticking with us and leaving some awesome reviews on Trustpilot!
As the owner of the business, I just thought I’d share with you how we’ve been managing and what Coronavirus has meant for us as a family business.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you may know that we expanded about 5 years ago and part of that meant investing in a larger space for our business. We took the (now seemingly very wise) decision to build a studio on our land. This has been the key to keeping things open during the lockdown as the studio has a completely separate entrance, is not open to the public and has enabled us to support social distancing and extra hygiene precautions the whole way through.
We had absolutely no idea what would happen to our business and whether we’d still be able to send out orders. We hadn’t a clue whether we’d even still have customers with the level of uncertainty over jobs and livelihoods, plus the added pressure of homeschooling our three boys 13, 10 and 8.
The first two weeks was the baptism of fire to homeschooling. Luckily with the prospect on the horizon, I’d already made a plan, leading to some sort of timetable for each day. Most days it has worked well, but our children are so sociable and are desperate to see their friends. Luckily they have each other and for probably the first time ever I feel relieved to have three children that do entertain each other.
The worry and stress about what might happen in that first week of lockdown and quite suddenly we started to see a very sharp rise in orders (on the level of Christmas) but that we just hadn’t prepared for. It was the kind of stress that an only entrepreneur dreams of and some very immediate action had to be taken.
Our first steps were to check with all existing suppliers on their capacity and indeed whether they were still open. Then we had to find new ones too, that could help us keep us with a sharp increase in orders. I know some businesses that have taken a break during this time because of such issues, but this just wasn’t an option for us. Prior to the outbreak, we’d been getting such great reviews on our latest range that we just couldn’t let this happen.
Some suppliers closed initially as they tried to figure out how they could operate with the social distancing rules in place, this was very worrying both for them and for us, and we too had to figure out what we needed to put in place to comply with the rules, but still remain operational. We immediately did a deep clean, instigated new cleaning routines and adopted a safe area for deliveries.
Quite a few sleepless nights, in fact, quite a few all-nighters sourcing new suppliers (It felt like finishing assignments at Uni lol) things were in place. We quadrupled existing orders with current suppliers without them pushing us back in the ordering queue (massive answer to prayer) and now we’re are flying.
The huge lesson here and massive small business top tip – don’t have too many eggs in one basket, have options. it gives you much greater control!
In the space of three weeks, we’ve breathed new life into our production capacity and we’re so grateful for every single one of your orders!!!
Unfortunately, Royal mail are still struggling and this is having an impact on delivery times, but bless them, they’ve had so much extra pressure placed on them, combined with staff shortages, they feel like the 5th emergency service right now.
A huge thank you to all NHS workers, keyworkers, to everyone who is helping to keep our country going and a special little shout out for Royal Mail! xxx