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5 Resident Businesses Pivoting

It’s fair to say that the last few months have been extraordinarily challenging for businesses large and small. Many brands have had to re-wire themselves to meet the new demands, allowing them to adapt, survive and eventually thrive.

We all have much to learn from an ever-changing period in time, where nothing is likely to go back to the old ‘norm’. Companies can follow by example and adopt emerging trends that meet the new needs of the customer. We have pulled together some helpful examples from Eat Work Art residents on ways in which they have pivoted over the past few months.

Pivoted via Virtual Promotional Campaigns

Georgia Campbell, Founder of Miss Crofton:

“Miss Crofton started out to offer underwear that is both girly and sophisticated, using quality, sustainable materials and attention to detail. Low waste is extremely important to us, so our studio at Hackney Downs Studios sources end of roll material from diverse local sellers. When coronavirus hit, the nature of our small-scale production bode well, as we have learnt to adapt and minimise waste materials and production time.

Initially I started sending products to photographers and artists or just people I admire to create some exciting and fresh content to reflect our collection. With social distancing in place it made it difficult to organise shoots, so we looked into ways of organising campaigns virtually. Lots of people reached out and offered help which really gave a sense of togetherness, including one of my favourite collaborators Stacey Kassandra, mother and photographer based in London.

This inspired me to organise a series of virtual shoots with different people in various parts of the world, I loved the idea of people being shot in their homes around all their belongings. There was something so raw and personal about it. We shot our latest collection virtually by the very talented Arvida Bystrom , she captured Coumba in London and Steffie in LA via video call! I loved how different the settings were for each, apparently they had so much fun making them - I want to organise all shoots like this. Their combined talents captured our products perfectly and ensured that we could continue promoting our way.

I found people have been much kinder, patient and open in general. A real sense of community opened up around Miss Crofton from customers and creatives that was really touching. Being forced to adapt is always good, as it pushes you in directions you might not have thought possible.”

You can see the virtual shoots here.

Pivoted via Education on Sustainability

Nick Palmer, Menswear Fashion Designer:

“Lockdown and the current pandemic has pretty much shut down the fashion industry to preserve its survival in future. A lot of jobs have been cut so I was unable to rely on someone hiring me or my freelance services and had to really think about my future. I have spoken to several designers about the prospect of working for them but since the pandemic they have slowed down hiring for the time being.

I am now in the process of creating a sustainable menswear label which will reduce fashion waste and educate consumers on the importance of what sustainability is within the industry. I am excited to be learning about how to create unique garments utilising upcycling and vintage textiles. Right now I am educating myself on what it means to be a business owner, CEO, Creative Director and a Designer. They don’t teach that in fashion school!”

Pivoted via E-commerce

Olivia Crighton at Glasshouse Salon:

“We’ve considered ourselves really lucky during this lockdown period as we already had a well-established online store that supported our physical salon and shop space. Since closing our doors in March, sales increased significantly and we’ve even taken this time to introduce new products and brands online as the demand continued.

Our clients have really got behind us - by simply stocking up on their hair and beauty essentials online, purchasing gift vouchers to go towards their hair appointments and utilising some of the new initiatives we’ve introduced, such as Click & Collect and our digital hair consultation service. There’s an increased sense of empathy towards small businesses and despite the challenges, lockdown has left us feeling very humbled for the support.”

Pivoted via Opening Shop

Beth Chapman, Founder and CEO of Leaf Envy:

“We saw a huge spike in demand for indoor plants and botanical goods during lockdown - our online revenue tripled and we have seen a 200% growth rate month on month for our plant subscription box. As people looked to improve their mental and physical wellbeing, and their "WFH" environment - indoor plants became an obvious choice to many. This, coupled with the already existing growth of the indoor plant market globally - created an unusual recipe for success, in a period of uncertainty.

Our shop was launched to bring our virtual store to life - a green oasis where customers can not only see our plant collection in person, but also ask questions and get plant care advice. It was created out of the customer need we saw for this physical touchpoint, but also as a way to continue to expand our online offering, brand awareness, and of course as an office for our expanding marketing team!

While many are surprised that we launched a shop in a time when many are closing down, this made complete sense to us - and we hope our Leafy HQ can provide inspiration for many to bring plants into their life - after all...plants make people happy.”

Pivoted via Delivery Services

Megan Adams, Founder of Re:Store:

“As a response to Covid, we've had to massively change and adapt the way that Re:Store operates. Ordinarily it's a self-serve refill store, but to keep our customers and staff safe we moved the whole business online in a matter of days (a job that would have taken us weeks, if not months!). For 3 months we were only accepting orders through our website for collection or home delivery, which worked well but has resulted in the business taking a hit on sales.

In the last couple of weeks in line with government guidance, we've redesigned the store so that staff now serve customers but we can welcome people in to browse, as well as maintaining our click & collect and delivery services.”

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