My business only exists because you want to show you care. It’s obvious really but I hadn’t really thought of it in these terms until Covid and lockdown.
It’s been a crazy few moths hasn’t it? I never imagined I’d ever witness a lockdown in Britain and see people wearing face masks become the norm. I must admit that even at the start of March I was worried more about issues with my husband’s work, organising my younger son’s 18th birthday party and being excited for my elder son’s trip to Disneyland Paris than Covid. Then the schools shut, France shutdown before my dismayed son’s eyes and suddenly I got nervous.
I started madly packing boxes of stock to send into fulfilment centres so my business could continue bringing in much needed income should I become ill but then they rightly shut to down to all but essential supplies.
My husband and I both fell through the gaps in government support so there wasn’t really a decision to be made, I had to keep trading. My sons got jobs in Tesco and Amazon so life continued, albeit strangely, quietly, very hygienically and with a guilty feeling I couldn’t shift.
I’d made the business decision in 2019 to concentrate on on line sales and they were doing well in March... then very well ... then went through the roof. I was constantly packing and sending orders to customers and boxes to the warehouses when they reopened but I loved being busy and it helped specific and general anxieties but there was still a nagging guilt.
Then I listened to a podcast aimed at indie businesses trying to keep trading through lockdown and I re-evaluated things. I wasn’t selling essentials but I was selling a tiny piece of normality that people desperately needed. My customers weren’t buying out of greed or on a whim; nearly all my products you buy to give, they were buying because they wanted to show someone they cared, that they had remembered and wanted to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or wanted to wish someone a speedy recovery. Sadly one of my best selling cards was a “Thinking of you” card - not necessarily a sympathy card however it wasn’t a fun one. But then there was my “So Proud of You “ card filled with rainbow colours which started to fly out - I’ve no idea what people were celebrating (a definite down side to online selling) but they’re such a positive card it gave me such a good feeling every time one sold. Slowly “Thinking of you” has slowed to a trickle - I’ve never been happier to have left over stock!
While I hate the many things that Covid has done to us, I personally love that I’ve realised my business is thriving not because of changing business models but because you care so much about your friends and family. I love that you’ve helped me support my numerous British suppliers many of whom closed initially while they worked out how to be safe but have reopened and are working round the clock to get orders out. I love that I’ve supported my husband after so many years of being supported myself. I love that I can pay my taxes and support other local indie businesses. And lastly I will love to get back to my paints at long last, to create more ways for you to share your love and best wishes in future.