We believe in small businesses and their power to change the world. But the smallest are also the ones suffering from COVID-19 the most, with clients losing purchase power and offline footfall breaking away. We asked our amazing brand partners how they deal, what their lockdown routine looks like and what the upsides are to a time where we all #stayhome.
Our second entry: Audrey Migot-Adholla, founder of YALA.
How are you today, a couple of weeks into the lockdown?
Doing OK. It's difficult to appreciate a significant period of history when you're living in it, so I think most of us right now are in "adapt and survive" mode and we'll look back on it later and really process what we've been through.
What did the lockdown mean for your business?
A massive reduction in the volume of sales, especially from our retail partners that had physical store locations.
YALA's jewellery to spice up your ZOOM conferences!
How have you adapted your business practices? What are the hurdles, what are advantages?
We adapted by introducing a gift card so that customers can continue to support our business until a time they feel comfortable buying luxuries again. We also changed our approach on social media and in our newsletters from selling to support. We're doing our best to empathise with our customers and give them the information they want and need right now, rather than relentlessly pushing product.
What does a typical day look like for you now?
It's much the same to be honest, answering emails, making website tweaks and regular trips to the post office. The biggest difference is that pop-ups and other in-person selling opportunities are off the table for the foreseeable future.
Is there a little self-love ritual you have newly introduced? If so, could you take a picture of it and describe it?
I've been taking more time to pay attention to my skincare. You hear about these 15-steps Beauty routines but now that we have all the time in the world, we can actually try them out! Also cooking and trying out recipes.
In the time in lockdown, is there anything in particular that touched or moved you?
I've been pleasantly surprised by the way little community groups have popped up to take care of the most vulnerable among us. Some are limited to one street, some cover an entire postcode and it's been lovely to watch the best of humanity at work.
What can your brand’s fans do to support you now?
It's difficult because we all know that to run a business you need revenue, which comes from people buying things. So we'd love our customers to continue to support us and make purchases, but getting dressed up with nowhere to go is a barrier to that. We've seen some people on Instagram doing a "dress-up to work from home" challenge which is fun. The best way customers can support us now is to buy a gift card from our site and redeem it when they're ready. That way, we still have money coming in and we can keep the lights on.
You can also read our first episode of this series with Jessica Gomez, founder of KLÈS.