In the words of Dylan, times certainly are a changing ...
Like many we were filled with optimism after welcoming in the New Year. After a successful 2019, in which Fox & Boo grew exponentially, we took time out to take stock and fully assess our position, decide where we wanted to be and what it was going to take to achieve that goal. As it turned out, with severe storms and subsequent floods in our area, most markets were cancelled anyway and the beginning of 2020 was already beginning to look like a total washout.
And then there was COVID 19 ...
And we, like most other business owners had to rethink how we could survive... never mind thrive, in this [I hate to use this overused word] unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in. Small independent businesses suddenly faced difficult challenges, some have adapted to these circumstances by finding new ways to deliver their services, but for some the challenges have been more difficult.
With lockdown imposed on the 23rd March, it seemed that overnight everything had changed and we woke up to a whole new world the next morning. It did seem like a dream, but it clearly dawned on us that all the goalposts had been moved, all our stockists shut their doors, our gorgeous co-operative shop in Conwy closed down, and all markets were cancelled with immediate effect.
What this meant in real terms for us was that our revenue stream instantly ceased. It meant that we either had to close our doors too, or potentially apply for a government grant to keep us afloat ... or adapt.
Considering, some good things had happened at the beginning of the year, like our amazing collaboration with artisan chocolatiers Coco Pzazz, followed by our own rebrand, we felt that too much work had gone into Fox & Boo to let it go in the face of an invisible enemy, so instead, we have been spending our time wisely. With no high street presence, no regular markets, no wholesale orders to fulfil, I have been developing the website and sourcing new products to offer, and the Boo has taken over all of our social media (I never did get insta stories), and we are finding new ways to sell, and get our work out there to new audiences.
For example we are now offering Letterbox Gifts, gifts that you can purchase for someone else, and we will gift wrap, include a card with a handwritten message (from yourself) and post out to anywhere in the UK, so if you are missing someone right now and you want to send a little something to say you are thinking of them, please do take a look.
Also, Nicky at Pedddle.com (The Creative Market Community) has been a great support and worked tirelessly to ensure that we have a visible platform on which to sell, by hosting online markets and special events, and recently we took part in an online market organised by Country Living Magazine, which was amazing and put Fox & Boo in front of thousands of CLM subscribers, and we have been inundated with orders, interaction and wonderful compliments, which is great because we both really miss seeing our customers face to face.
So good things ARE happening, we are just having to find new ways of working.
And the one positive to come from this lockdown is time ... something I haven't had in a long time, so I have been spending a lot of my time walking, cycling, photographing and sketching alongside the canals and meres of Shropshire. After a recent house move, all this is on my doorstep ... Swans, ducks, geese, hares ... I couldn't be happier amongst all this wildlife. And you know what that means?
New designs ..... Yay!