Dear Friends of FINDRA
How are you all? I hope you and your families are keeping safe and well?
I can’t quite believe it’s the start of March, I had great plans to write a blog at the start of January to say hello and give you all a bit of an update on what’s been happening at FINDRA but that deadline came and went! And now here we are hoping that spring is just around the corner and almost to the week a full year on from the point at which all of our day-to-day lives changed dramatically!
A year that none of us will ever forget, no matter how much we would like to, a year that has brought such sadness, loss and desperation but also hope and an opportunity to revaluate who we are and what really matters to us.
In March last year when I wrote to you all I genuinely didn’t know if FINDRA would come out of the other side of COVID, there was so much uncertainty and the future seemed pretty bleak. Like many small business owners, it was hard to see how we would overcome the challenges we were facing. But a year on things feel different and are different.
So what’s happened in a year? What changes have FINDRA undergone through COVID times?
Well, having implemented our ‘survival ‘ strategy at the start of March 2020 it was hard to know what direction things would go in, our ‘baton down the hatches’ approach felt like the only option, as we all tried to come to terms with life in lockdown and what that meant to us, our families and our day to day lives.
It was a strange time; things kind of ground to a halt in those very early days and weeks, yet at the same time, there was actually a lot to do to implement our strategy and shift into survival mode.
As a small business owner, I have always been used to juggling many things, but that became even more so with some of the team forced to work from home and some furloughed.
Unlike much of the country, I have only spent 4 weeks working from home over the past year. The first 2 weeks of lockdown, when we had to isolate as I had symptoms and although not tested was pretty sure I had Covid, then again in October when my son tested positive.
Other than those 4 weeks I have spent pretty much every day in FINDRA, living only 10 minutes away from the FINDRA design hub, I have been fortunate, I can walk to work easily and once there I am able to get on with my day in isolation, with my constant companion our black lab Horace to keep me company.
At first, it was quite weird, and in many ways, it felt like I had been transported back in time to the first 2 years of my business journey when it was just me doing everything, but as time went on I started to enjoy the space, the quietness the time to reflect and I loved getting my sleeves rolled (even further) up and just getting on with things.
The first few weeks were the toughest, wondering what was going to happen to us as a business and would we pull through this strange time. There were no answers, the whole country was asking themselves the same question, how was it all going to pan out for us all? Would life ever be the same?
As March came and went and April arrived, things slowly began to change, I started to receive emails, from you, our amazing customers who took time out of your day to get in touch and tell us how much you hoped and wanted us to get through this difficult time, emailing words of support and encouragement, I found this hugely humbling, and felt so moved by your kindness.
And you didn’t stop there. You placed online orders and told your friends about us and even treated your friend’s to some FINDRA too and as a result, your friends placed orders and told their friends!
And because of this we slowly began to see a route ahead, and even dared to see a path beyond COVID.
As April became May and spring was in full bloom, it felt like the world woke up to the benefits of being in nature, the joys of cycling and the outdoors became an important part of peoples lives and daily activity.
At the same time, more of us discovered the ease and convenience of online shopping. And as a result, done more of it!
I’m not sure anyone could have really predicted that but for us these were 2 big positives that allowed us as a business to move forward.
And move forward we have, over the last year things have changed, as a business we have had to adapt and change, review our strategy and business model, we have had to pivot to focus our energy on online selling. And we have used the time to start planning for the future, designing new products and improving our website, which we hope will all be obvious in a few months time.
The last year has been a great deal of hard work with a small team predominantly working from home it has meant there has been very little downtime, but we have all been motivated by our plans for the future and the ongoing support of you our customers and followers.
I reflect back on the last year and feel extremely fortunate that we have found a way through a very tough time. Through hard work, focus and determination we have been able to continue to do what we love which is designing and selling stylish versatile and sustainable outdoor clothing for you our customers, and together with your support, we have managed to come out of a very difficult situation with a clear and positive focus of the way forward.
I remember many years ago the first piece of advice I was given as I embarked on my journey of founding and setting up FINDRA. I was told that I had to ‘Get comfortable being uncomfortable" and never has that statement been so relevant than in the last 12 months.
So here’s to the future and all that it brings, and more than ever a big thank you to all of you our customers, its your custom and support that keeps us going and makes what we do a reality. Without you there would be no FINDRA.
PERSONAL COVID SURVIVAL STRATEGY
So how have you got through the pandemic? Here are some notes on what’s got Alex through.
Time outdoors always makes you feel better and gives much-needed perspective on life whether its walking, cycling or cold-water swimming I have cherished the opportunities I have had to get outdoors especially in the pandemic and periods of lockdown. I absolutely love to be outdoors and in nature no matter what the weather.
This year I started a veggie garden, as a novice it was all a bit hit or miss but I did actually manage to grow stuff and amazingly it was edible! Spinach, spring onions, carrots and lettuce were all enjoyed many times over the summer.
Grayson’s Art club
One of my favourite things to come out of lockdown has been Grayson’s Art Club, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Grayson and his wife Philippa look through and create weekly artwork. Such a life-affirming and inspiring show!
MUSIC OF THE WEEK
Home by David Byrne & Brian Eno
As a big fan of Talking Heads, I love this one Home by David Byrne and Brian Eno. And it feels like a fit for the times we are all living through.