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 first entry: Jessica Gomez, founder of KLÈS.
How are you today, three weeks into the newly introduced lockdown?
After three weeks in lockdown, keeping positive and motivated is becoming difficult, but I try to focus on the good things. For example, having more time to work on projects I had been putting off for a while.
What did the lockdown mean for your business?
I had just moved to a new working space when the lockdown started. I had previously been working from home since moving to Bristol from London last year and so was very excited to move to a studio in a building shared with other makers and artists. But the studio has closed for the duration of the lockdown.
I couldn’t move everything back home, so I only took what I needed to work on a new project that doesn't require too much equipment.
As my products are made to order, not being able to use my studio means I can’t fulfil orders until the end of the lockdown. I am lucky to still have some orders despite the delay, customers have been very understanding, but I have seen a substantial decline in orders and revenue due to this crisis.
How have you adapted your business practices? What are the hurdles, what are advantages?Of course, the lockdown is damaging my business financially, but not being able to make and fulfil orders means I have more free time. I’m using this time to work on things that will help my business thrive when everything is back to normal.
- I made some improvements to my website, I’m lucky to be able to do this myself at no cost.
- I started writing blog articles, this is something I wanted to do for a long time and I’m pleased to have finally started.
- I’ve started working on a new range of products made of fabric, including a bag and womenswear. I’m very excited about this new product line and I can't wait to be able to show it.
What does a typical day look like for you now?
When working from home, having a strict routine is essential for me. I wake up at 6:30 am when Joff, my boyfriend, gets up for work. I like to take my time in the morning, but I try to start working before 8 am.
Now that I don't have to work on orders, I will usually work half a day on my computer and half a day on my fabric-based collection. I decide what I work on first depending on what I want to do. I usually go out for a long walk before or after lunchtime. I find that exercise and fresh air help me to focus on my work in the afternoon.
Is there a little self-love ritual you have newly introduced? If so, could describe it?
I used to work from home before the lockdown, so this is not something new, but it really works for me. I meditate for 15 minutes every day, it helps me deal with stress and it is especially beneficial at the moment.
In the time in lockdown, is there anything in particular that touched or moved you? A gesture, message or anything else?
The amazing support I’ve seen towards small businesses. This support is from the public, who prioritises buying from them and from small businesses themselves, promoting each other.
What can your brand's fans do to support you now?
They can obviously buy something, even small, or a gift card, but not everyone has the financial means at the moment.
There are other ways to help Klès and other small businesses. Small things like talking about the brand to your friends, sharing, liking and commenting on social media posts are also very helpful.