Lockdown as a small family business
This year was supposed to be the year. The year i could look at what i had built, stand back and feel well successful i suppose. Covid 19 and my small family business is a title i didn’t think i’d be typing ever. I’ve spent years building up my online business. It started in 2014 by selling other baby brands not found on the highstreet and a couple of years ago i started to design and sell my own linen baby clothing. I never imagined it would grow so quickly. This year i secured my first premises to manufacture in house and have a shop area to actually speak to my customers face to face.
Unfortunately it’s not turning out that way but if life has taught me anything it’s when things are tough or not going how you had hoped, look for any positives and work with those. So i’m designing more clothing and planning the future of Freya Lillie which i absolutely love. I’m writing this blog which is actually quite theraputic. Although i’m hoping my next blog has a happier title than Covid 19 and my small family business. One thing i have realised is how much i appreciate the loyalty and understanding from my customers.
For those who don’t know who Freya Lillie is, we are a small family run business who design and manufacture baby, children and now women’s linen clothing. We have a strong passion for ethically made and sustainable clothing. Our designs are made here in England by a small team of seamstresses. We use 100% linens and organic cottons. Our clothing labels are made from bamboo. The buttons on your garments are made from coconut shells. Both our swing tags and packaging are made from recycled materials. We try our best to be a fully sustainable luxury brand although there’s always room for improvement.
Freya Lillie always talks about the benefits of made to order clothing and how mass production isn’t the answer. But it seems as though we find our selves at a disadvantage as we don’t have any stock to sell right now. So we imagined we would just stand still until lockdown was over but that’s not been the case.
Our customers have been so supportive, understanding and loyal. From those who placed orders prior to lockdown who will wait the longest. To those continuing to purchase when they know delivery isn’t until around June. We hear from small businesses all the time who say they do a little happy dance every time they see an order. Well never has that been more true.
First Mum then Business Woman
I have mixed feelings surrounding lockdown. Slowing things down and spending more time with my family is a bonus(well up to now!). I hate that i can’t go see my family or friends. I worry about any of my family becoming sick with Corona virus. Putting together homeschooling and work has required a little work to say the least. Two things i have realised that work for us is some sort of routine. My daughter Freya who is 6 likes to sit with me and write a plan for the next day. She feels happier knowing exactly what tomorrow will bring.
I have sat with her a few times and asked how she’s feeling about the situation. Luckily her only concerns are that she misses her friends and asks when will it be over? If only i had the answer!
The other thing i’ve realised is to only set myself one task each day because anything else is just not possible. At the start of the lockdown i felt very stressed because nothing was being ticked off the list. The juggle was just so overwhelming. Now i’ve come to terms with the fact that things need to be different.
Some days we have a tidy house, homeschool complete and i have something ticked off my list. Other days we eat sweets, we don’t tick anything off the list and watch tv in our PJ’s. I think those days are the one’s Freya will remember the most. The one’s that felt a little bit naughty.
One thing i won’t do is twist because i know it could be so much tougher. For those working on the front line exposing themselves to this deadly virus. To those who have had to move out of their home or send their children to the grandparents. There are so many different situations that are so hard and all we can do is show our appreciation by clapping for the NHS on a Thursday or staying home.
As a small business i’m sure there is more we can do so we are open to suggestions. We have seen businesses offering keyworker gifts, donating to charities and so much more. At the moment we are looking at either donating a percentage of all orders placed that have been affected by corona. Or maybe offering giftcards to keyworkers. But please feel free to email us email@example.com if you do have a suggestion or if in fact you are a keyworker. I hope Covid 19 and my small family business rang true to some of you, we really are in this together but healthier times are ahead.