Running a Small Business During a Worldwide Pandemic
This is the second year of running our little business and what a second year it has been! We kicked off the year being recognised as a Plastic-Free Business Champion by Surfers Against Sewage and also found out that we had been nominated for a Green Business of the Year Award, which we actually won in February! This year started off so exciting and promising and then… there was the big worldwide pandemic thing. It’s been a hard year, I won’t say it’s been harder or easier than anyone else’s, because we’ve all been lost-at-sea.
But it has been hard: we’ve lost two of our stockists due to financial losses from being closed for so long during the first lockdown, another two that would usually be moving through stock somewhat quickly haven’t contacted us in months for more stock, we haven’t had a market since February and the markets that we had booked in for November were obviously all cancelled, although we had limited optimism for them anyway — most of us are still staying home and not really browsing.
It’s not all been bad though; we’ve absolutely loved seeing an increase in cards sent to loved ones ‘just because’, and seeing a customer’s name that we recognise return for the second or third time is just honestly just the best feeling. We’re still so excited by every sale that we turn to each other and shout NEW ORDER! We’re up to 900 or so orders so far, there’s been a lot of excited shouting!
Along with finding a community on social media of makers and people with indie businesses, I’ve even made a friend through our little business. We had an order of a few of our lockdown message related cards and off they went. A few days later, the lady, let’s call her N, shared a photo of her cards in her Instagram stories and I gave her profile a bit of a stalk and discovered she was a copywriter too — we had a brief chat then. Over the past couple of months, we’ve actually progressed to voicenotes on Whatsapp and she’s become one of my most trusted sounding-boards.
There is no typical day for us, we average 3–4 orders a day (although up to 10–12 orders at the weekend) and on the whole, I’m the slightly less busy one out of the two of us, so I’m the one who is printing, packing and posting. A lot of love goes into our packaging, I handwrite a note and wrap our orders in tissue paper, sealed with our own stickers — all of which is compostable!
I think 2020 has taught us a lot about resilience, both in my personal life and in my little business. We thought that 2020 would be a great year for us, feeling like we had found our feet in our first year, but it really has been ‘unprecedented times’. So, we’ve pivoted, started to focus on our website again, started to build an email list and think outside of the box, using the quiet times to think about other products that we could make and testing them out.
Running an indie business for me is 50% feeling absolutely delighted that anyone would like and want the things we create, 45% being doubtful that we actually have a real business and 5% just absolutely winging it. But I would 100% do it all over again!
Follow Saloni on Instagram @alongcameloni
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Originally published at https://theeverydaymagazine.co.uk on December 6, 2020.