Well, 2020 has certainly brought its challenges for us all so far. For us folks here in Worcestershire, we had to first contend with the floods; minor inconvenience for some, total devastation for others, and then hot on the heels of that came Covid-19.
As a small business that has had to close its doors for the past three months, I can certainly attest to the challenges that have been faced over recent times. However...
I, like many others I know, decided that whilst the imposed loss of income was far from ideal, the gift of time was something that we may never get again. There was a feeling of responsibility in how to use this time to maximum benefit, be that for business gains or personal. It has been amazing watching the surge in creativity from people and the huge interest in creative arts. People learning how to be good teachers, people using the time to be out and exercising to improve fitness, many gifted tutors adapting to run workshops via online platforms and people generally finding new ways to keep contact with friends and family. Unexpected quiz masters appeared in many families and the strange new phenomenon of waving to everyone at the start and end of every conversation - something that would raise some strange looks if you did it in 'real life'!! Also, the frequent shout of 'you're on mute!' in many a virtual conversation!
The slow re-opening of businesses brings further challenges for a hat shop where people long to try things on and fittings require close proximity between milliner and client. With this in mind, I spent a long time with my Post Covid risk assessment considering how I could maintain the safety of clients and myself.
New features in the studio include the expected hand sanitiser, along with gloves and face masks which can be worn during fittings. Not the most glamorous look but one which we are fast acclimatising to! Opening will be on an appointment only basis. This supports the need for social distancing but also allows clients the chance to try things on in a environment where they feel safe and secure. Any new customers can also arrange no obligation appointments for viewing the ready made range or to come in and discuss a bespoke commission. Appointments also allow me the time to 'rest' anything that may have been tried on for the time required.
Weddings seem to be under consideration at the moment so hopefully brides, bridegrooms and families will be able to start to plan their celebrations soon. There has certainly been an uplift in interest online this past week.
Let us hope that we all manage to adapt to the 'new normal' and keep this thing at bay. I also hope that we carry the reflections we may have had over recent months into our new way of life. Appreciating family, friends, nature and creativity makes us all better people!