Well the past couple of weeks has been an unsettling time for everyone, with things changing every day. Many of you will know that I had only just got things back on track after a bumpy start to the year, sales were coming back in, workshops rearranged and it felt like things were back on track!
So when Covid-19 hit I made some changes as soon as I could, I feel lucky that for the first week the disruption was minimal as there is no physical shop and I work alone, with postal pick ups from our studio building. I had to postpone our workshops until after lockdown which was hugely disappointing after just getting them back on sale.
This past week has been much more difficult, as the guidance was that we were allowed to continue to trade online so I moved some bits of stock that would fit in the post box at the corner of our block and reduced visits to the Post Office to once a week. I set up a working space in our tiny flat and started to make plans to do workshops online. The sales disappeared dramatically last week with only 6 orders coming in, and the materials for the workshops only arrived yesterday.
Although Braw Wee provides many a giggle and joy for me and our customers, it isn’t an essential service, so until we have further guidance I won’t be posting out anymore orders no matter the size. All orders made last week have either been sent or collections organised.
Financially this is a very difficult time for the business, I have no financial buffer or savings as what I had was used at the beginning of the year to move studios and take time off to be with Ross after his surgery and for me to recover from burnout. There does look like there is help coming from Government but again it isn’t 100% guaranteed - I have applied for the Small Business Grant, but as I hadn’t had confirmation of the Business Rates Relief I might not be eligible - so I’m looking at a loan and I might be able to apply for the Employee scheme but that doesn’t pay our studio, website or supplier bills.
I am lucky that I have already reduced Braw Wee’s outgoings to a minimum, and I have started to pick up little bits of freelance creative consultancy work that was my bread & butter before Braw Wee
So here is what I plan to do with the resources I currently have.
- is to leave the online shop open but make sure customers know that no orders will be posted until after lockdown.
- Encourage people to buy vouchers for online and workshops that can be used at a later date.
- Use the time to learn some new design and business skills, develop some online resources, redesign our admin systems and do a proper business plan.
I am confident with a little bit of help from our community of fab customers and with some determination then I’ll come out the other end of this stronger and with some exciting ideas for products, collaborations and workshops.
So if you would like to help Braw Wee navigate this latest twist in our journey and are able...
Here are three things that would really help us:
- If you are also skint, you can make sure you follow us on all our different social platforms and encourage your pals to like them too (We recently had our Instagram disabled so you can now find us here).
- Buy a voucher that you can use at a later date, all vouchers will be valid for up to 18 months and can be used on workshops or products. Find our vouchers here.
- Purchase from the website or book a workshop for later on in the year.
I hope you are all staying safe and thank you for your continued support!