I thought it would be interesting for people to read about the experience of a small business owner during a nation wide lockdown from COVID-19. On Tuesday 17th August 2021 at 11.59pm the whole country of New Zealand went into a Level 4 Lockdown due to the Delta Variant of Covid-19.
Firstly, my heart goes out to all the individuals and families that are dealing with COVID-19 in their homes. I really hope you all recover quickly.
Since I started my business in January this year, I hadn't yet been through a lockdown so I had to do a lot of research about what was expected of me.
Lockdown and Non-essential Businesses
Being a personalised jewellery business, True Impressions is considered non-essential so this means that I am unable to send orders out while we are at Level 4. This created a number of jobs for me to do.
1. I needed to add this information to the website. The best place would be in the announcement bar, so that everyone visiting my website would have the most correct information available. So, I immediately added that orders would be sent as soon as allowed. In case customers missed this information, I took the initiative outlined in the second point below.
2. I decided to email everyone who had ordered to confirm that their order would only be sent once the whole of NZ dropped down to level 3 or lower. This meant I could also connect with everyone who ordered and I thought this was important especially since many are feeling the financial impact of COVID-19.
3. I also updated my FAQs so that the expectation around shipping timeframes was more accurate. Being clear and transparent is really important to my brand values.
4. Regularly adding stories to my instagram and Facebook page is also instrumental in getting word out there that orders are still being accepted but shipping would be delayed.
So as you can see, there has been a lot of behind the scenes work to make sure the information presented is accurate.
The Shop Local Movement
I've noticed a huge movement on Social Media to advocate for small businesses around Aotearoa. Supporting these small businesses during this time is so important. I want to thank @shoplocal.nz, especially for the shoutouts not only of my business but so many others that are really struggling during this time! Lisa Buscomb is an amazing 'support local' advocate and I am so very grateful for her support.
Below, I'd like to pay it forward by mentioning some of the incredible businesses and their owners that I have come to know over the last 6 months:
Chelsea @ Love by Chelsea - Handmade absorbent bibs, breast pads and more.
Izzy @ The Milk Collective - Premium Lactation Blends.
Rosa @ Barre Base Anywhere - On-demand barre fitness and mobility classes.
Martina @ Kalla Beauty - Handmade eco shampoo and soap.
Pam @ Teach them with play - Imaginative and creative play resources.
There are so many more incredible local businesses here in New Zealand and I'd love to mention them all and I think if we all advocated for just one small business each day, we would help out the community is a large way.
So, while we are at level 4 Lockdown, as you can see supporting local makes a huge difference. Personally, I have really felt the support throughout this lockdown and I'm sure it will continue.
On a Personal Note
I am also a full time mother to two busy young boys. So this lockdown have been full on! Being a parent is no easy task and add to that a lockdown and a little business on the side, it can be mayhem some days. My work always fits around the children, and this works well most of the time.
Life is busy and being stuck at home is no different. I've enjoyed the time I have with my kids at home especially because they do grow up so fast. To be real, there's been a lot of whining and tears and it's a real juggling act making sure chores are done, kids are fed, I am fed, kids are entertained.
I do love that I have something special just for me and that is this personalised jewellery business. It gives me something to do and people to connect with that I wouldn't otherwise have had.
Somehow this lockdown hasn't been as difficult for me as the first one was. (When I was pregnant with my second.)
So, here we are. In a nationwide Lockdown. Yet, the support of so many is so overwhelming. Some are still finding this time really difficult and a struggle every day, but the support of those who are making an effort to support small business is truly appreciated.
We won't be here forever, we will get through it like we did last year April. I am looking forward to sending out the pile of orders that have come through and will continue to come through over this time. As soon as NZ is at level 3 or lower, I will be able to send them out and I can not wait for that! I know it can be hard to wait for a personalised piece of jewellery but I can assure you it will be worth the wait!
So keep doing what you're doing you beautiful people, support and shop local. Thank you all for your support, kindness and endurance.