I read a blog written by an owner of a small business who inspires me, and yet again her blog didn’t let me down. Offering positive and productive thoughts during this exceptional time. It motivated me to put some thoughts down myself about the current situation, to share her positivity with our customers and followers.
It truly resonated with me running a small business in the last couple of years in uncertain times.
“I didn’t know that about Nookie.”
It’s always a reminder when we speak to a customer and they utter that sentence that sometimes the things we take for granted are not always that well known.
Nookie is an independent passionate business, not a massive corporation. We are a small team that works hard together to compete with some much bigger companies in our enthusiast led outdoor and watersports industry of which we are privileged to be a part of for nearly 30 years. We still make all our drywear in our own factory in Cornwall.
As 2020 started, we felt a surge of motivation for our little brand. We had big plans for the coming year off the back of launching our first and very successful women’s drysuit, the Octane.
Then the news started to filter in about the crisis in China over the Corona virus. Although we manufacture a large percentage of our range here in Cornwall, we do still produce certain products in the Far East. We monitored the situation, and with only a few delays we are starting to see our shipments come in and are pleased that our suppliers and contacts who we have a long relationship with appear to be healthy and back at work.
Feeling the hiccup may be over, the reports started coming about the spread in Europe and the U.K. We have a number of businesses we work with throughout Europe, and inevitably many of them have become friends over the years and we wish them good health and hope their businesses can also withstand this economic uncertainty.
Many self-employed people and small businesses are probably feeling a tremendous amount of concern during this stressful wave of information and flux in trade. So we know we are not alone.
We are aware many of our customers have been forced to temporarily close by their governments, and this obviously has an impact to us indirectly. However, we are trying to think positively and curb its impact to keep our staff busy while we all ride it out. We have taken precautions to look after our valuable team, with shift rotas and home working to limit the amount of interaction and contact where possible and obviously good house-keeping practices to keep our staff healthy and to help keep the rest of the country moving.
So what are my positive takes from this?
- Keep yourself and your mind active – as of yet, in the U.K we are not in lock-down, just advised reduced social contact. So drag out your kayak or SUP to your nearest bit of water, or your boots for a walk in the forest to clear your mind and inhale that gorgeous fresh (if often drizzley wet) air and focus on your paddle stroke or step counter.
- Be virtually social – we all lead busy lives, and at the moment it may seem busier than ever. But take the time to check in with friends more often, a video call and a shared glass of wine and a good laugh will do you both the world of good.
- Focus on something you enjoy – whether that is cooking, origami, art, yoga or something else to give you some downtime from what feels like constant pressure of the media.
How can you support small businesses?
I have to admit, I have pretty much taken and copied all of Cat’s suggestions from her MAIK blog here because they are so darn good;
- Buy from small businesses – don’t forget that online shops are still open and will ship direct to your door.
- Promote small brands on social media – give them a shout out and share their great products and stories.
- Shop local – if you are able to, do your essential food shopping at your local butchers, bakers and fishmongers, rather than the big supermarket chains. Our local butcher is well stocked as is the small newsagent over the road, no panic buying needed.
- Skillshare with small business owners – if you have a skill you can share, perhaps set up a Facebook Live, IGTV or offer a downloadable course.
- Get involved in online exercise classes and talks. Contact your yoga teacher and see if they are able to offer their services via video.
So, as it stands here at Nookie, we are still open, as is our online store, we are taking orders and despatching them the same day as usual. There is someone in the office every day to answer your phone calls and queries regarding our products or your orders. And of course, we will always reply to your emails as soon as possible.
Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to getting out on the water this weekend.
Hazel, and the team at Nookie.