Our COVID 19 story....
As a small business owner I wanted to do a blog solely on what’s being going on with Bees and Butterflies Flowers through a worldwide pandemic. Now seems a good time to share, feeling like we are starting to get a little sense of normality returning.
It's crazy to understand that term a worldwide pandemic. This isn’t a blog about how hard it has been or how well we have dealt with it. Simply me sharing my story of Bees and Butterflies Flowers during a pandemic. Working closely with other suppliers and business, I know everyone has there own story.
The word lock down was thrown around in the news for days/ weeks and everyone kind of knew it was coming. During Mother's Day weekend this was a stressful time, I had all these orders (the busiest Mother's Day we have had!) to complete and I knew the lock down was coming fast! Thank god I got through Mother's Day before lock down hit. On Monday 23rd March, the day after Mothers Day Lock down was enforced. My first real feelings were stress, anxious, and straight up scared. I only went full time with the business in October last year. What will happen to the weddings, my business, and thoughts of will it survive. This is the truth but my first thought was heart break for those who had weddings booked. I had two weddings booked in for the week of lock down and the shock of what was going on was crazy. I felt and still do for all the couples who had to postpone their weddings, I know how much excitement and planning comes with the big day. When lock down hit I don't think I quite understood the extent a virus would have on the economy and all families.
When lock down happened, wholesalers, garden centre, everything closed. This is when reality kicked in and again those same feelings came flooding back, total panic. I had no choice but to stop completely. This is where I started thinking full on survival mode. What have I got in the bank and how do I get rid of overheads. What grants am I eligible for? What on earth do I do? I wasn't just thinking of money, but my also about my family. The news at pm became the regular watch to inform people of what was happening.
On the second week I was asked about funeral flowers and then I slowly started getting requests, few funerals, the odd arrangement for the first few days. Wholesalers adapted to reopen within government guidelines. This was the point I had to take a deep breath and put my own measures in place to get back to work safely. I wasn't eligible for any grants etc so I had to work safely and doing door step deliveries/ knock and drop. I may have had to reschedule weddings and not be able to trade from Lanchester Garden Centre which was so difficult, but with every cloud comes a silver lining, as luckily business has been very busy. It was so great to see how all businesses adapted to suit the situation. Creating ways of continuing to grow business has been challenging but thankfully people still wanted flowers.
From that point it got busier and busier, it was non stop, I have never sold so many dried floral arrangements, funeral/ sympathy flowers and diversified in what I provided. Customers wanted to send fresh flowers to those they thought of and missed, sympathy flowers and thinking of you flowers were constant. The messages were heart felt and to be honest it was quite emotional, I definitely felt the love, and sadly the sadness too for those who loved and also lost.
I had always planned to launch my new branding before lock down. One of my oldest and bestest friends had helped me develop a logo I fell in love with. I did question whether it is now the right time but I was too excited to wait. So I launched it. New uniform, new business cards, new banners and display boards and a new found energy to make this all work.
Having the girls at home and thinking of different tasks to do was challenging to say the least. One day we made rainbow wreaths in the garden. I posted it on social media and people wanted to buy them. So we started selling them for people to give to friends/ family/ key workers to show their support. Some NHS workers wanted them for their own doors too. All the eucalyptus wreaths with rainbow ribbons had a donation from the profit to the NHS Charities Together. The working days increased and my passion for what I did grew. The requests for different designs were amazing. Every Thursday the Clap for Carers was significant to show thanks to the NHS, and amazing key workers.
The local support has been amazing. The sharing on social media from everyone has been something I will always be grateful for. Local businesses pulled together more and people wanted to support local.
As lock down restrictions lifted I found out the wedding venue where I was recommended supplier for had to close since to COVID lock down and was going into liquidation. More so than before my thought was about our couples, and the owners of the venue. I am still trying to work out the impact on the business during lock down. Its a learning curve everyone has had to deal with and continue to do so. I just believed its a storm that will pass and I had to ride it out. Its still not over and its going to be an upset in the economy for a long time.
This blog is just me saying how it went and sharing my story. It’s been chaos. Thank you so much to all my amazing customers, couples who have gone through so much and stayed with me and the other businesses I work with. You have turned what could have been one of the scariest and hardest times for the business in to a positive experience. I am so grateful for all your support. The amount new customers I gained during lock down is brilliant!
It only seems fair to finish this with 3 little people. As well as working we have had these 3 little beauties at home. Between orders, I was looking after the girls. Me and my husband were like tag team trying to work, teach, bake, clean and paint the loft haha! Maybe one day they will use get there own little t shirts with our beautiful new logo on and be put to work properly! Haha!
Love, Sarah x