Intimacy and authenticity: What I've learnt as a small business owner during COVID
Posted: 29 Jun , 2020By: Kate Sutton Adapting and Innovating
When it comes to a global pandemic all gloves are off... My GM called me the first morning of the Covid crisis and said she had googled “how to market in a global pandemic”… not surprisingly there were no results! So we turned our attention to what we could do, within the realms of our business to ensure our survival.
We brainstormed what would people need from us, and we came to the conclusion that everything we did during ISO and the pandemic had to come from a place of true authenticity with no expectation on any of it converting to actual sales. We turned our attentions to our online community and from the first day of global fear we went LIVE on FB everyday at 12.30 with the goal of connecting with our followers and inspiring our clients or being honest with everyone about whether we were in a good, bad or in-between headspace. We filmed teasers and let our tribe know what we would be chatting about during the lives.. I dragged hubby and business partner Adam into them and he wrote and sang COVID songs and we hung on for dear life to being positive and inspiring and brining humour during a dark time.
You see we had recently opened our first flagship retail store after 17 years of running our personalised jewellery business online. It was a huge step for us and it required massive investment in the store, and new staff. The minute the pandemic started, I closed the retail store and we immediately had staff members who were now redundant. We didn’t let anyone go, we reworked their positions and created a “virtual shopping” experience so our store manger continued to have a job while the store was closed. Interestingly it’s these pivots that not only helped us keep our staff, but it’s added a new dimension to our future offerings and an unexpected new income stream.
We were so busy during this 9 week period with LIVEs on FB and we started two series on IGTV 1. “Bling it out and about”- where we got dressed up in our jewellery to stay in. 2. “Inside the House of U”- where we let our clients inside our world and showed them where and how we make and craft our jewels. The level of intimacy required during this time was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in business and it’s something I will never forget. None of us knew what we were doing or what the outcomes would be... but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that intimacy, and authenticity is everything for businesses both now and moving into the future.