A brief reflection on running a small business during a pandemic.
If we have learned anything over the last 2 tumultuous years, it is to expect the unexpected. Who would have thought that the world would literally be turned on its head overnight as we witnessed changes to every aspect of life…and it is all thanks to a seemingly small bug named Corona?
In relation to business, here at Soda Grey we have learned that what works well one week, is not necessarily going to work the next. Like so many other similar businesses in Australia and around the world, in early 2020 we were sailing merrily along growing our corporate gifting business and then BAM! Lockdown 1.0. Little did we know that as Victorians, this was the first of many unwelcome interruptions to our way of life.
As borders closed and flights were grounded, we realised that we needed to review the sourcing of some of our products and thankfully found alternative channels for some of our main stock lines much closer to home. What we had previously imported direct was now sourced locally and this lead to the welcome discovery of a business in the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne who now hand make all of our timber products – local is definitely the new black, a definite case of serendipity.
The majority of the timber used for our boards and picnic tables is recycled from commercial projects. Transporting these products has also been vastly reduced, hence reducing our carbon footprint substantially. We support this small timber business and it supports ours – a match we would never have found if it wasn’t for that horrid little bug from Wuhan.
2 years on, the daily covid press conferences are gone, our interest in the virus numbers has given way to an unnerving anxiety surrounding how we possibly adjust to this ‘new normal’. Some businesses have thrived, others have pivoted and found new ways to break even, many have sadly failed following a long, painful struggle during this unprecedented time. We can only hope that these businesses will re-emerge with a new outlook or perhaps a completely new direction altogether.
Looking forward, we are approaching the next 12 months with cautious optimism – we are stocked full of new products and inspired by new ideas born out of long days in too many lockdowns. Assume nothing, as who knows what tomorrow will bring…