Well, lockdown is fun, isn’t it? Said nobody, ever. Sorry, had to get that out of the way.
Lockdown has made me ponder pretty hard about what I want to post on my blog right now. There are lots of people posting useful stuff already, and yes I could do that, but I feel like I covered the main two topics (how to reflect on your small business and ways to improve your website) before lockdown started. There’s no need for me to post those again, but hopefully they’re useful. I’d love that.
Early in lockdown I also posted a whole bunch of ideas for feeding your creative brain at this time, picked up over months of virtual lockdown thanks to a gammy ankle. Again, if it’s useful – hurray!
Let’s forget the practical stuff, though.
What I REALLY want to do at the moment is create a bit of community, support small businesses and bring some smiles to people’s faces. That’s why I’ve been talking to some lovely people and you’ll hear all about them over the next few days.
Each person I’ve interviewed for this blog series runs their own business. I know them either personally, professionally or social media-lly and they’re all wonderful humans.
I’ve asked them a bit about their lives during lockdown, and then asked them to tell me about some of the other small and independent businesses (especially retail businesses) they’ve been supporting lately or would like to show some lockdown love to.
First up to show us how it’s done, is the fabulous Charlie…
MEET CHARLIE… FROM THE MILLHOUSE IN HERTFORD
Charlie runs The Mill House, a brilliant venue and space for hire in Hertford. Earlier this year she also opened a second space, The Mill Stream Studio. Plus, she’s taken the kids’ art activities she normally runs at The Mill House and turned them into an art box home delivery service during lockdown. AND she’s an excellent graphic designer, too. I know, sickening right? I caught up with this lovely lady to find out how lockdown has been going for her.
“It’s affected pretty much everything!”, she tells me. “We’ve had to close our venues, but as we live on site we decided to turn our main space into a live/work space – we cook in it, play in it, work in it… the art boxes are a whole new side to the business and a new routine, but I’m really enjoying it”.
I think I can safely say the kids (and parents) of Hertford are loving it too! And we’re all looking forward to being able to get back into the space and enjoy everything it offers as soon as we can.
Charlie’s small business shout outs!
“We’ve treated ourselves to a few things since lockdown”, says Charlie.
- a gorgeous paper cutout from @laurabmakes
- tasty Easter treats from @homemade_by_heidi
- some sunnies (an early b’day pressie!) from @ruskin_clothing
- and delicious vegan food delivered to our door by @chef_naturelle
“I’d also like to shout out a few other local businesses who are doing brilliant things at the moment and adapting to the changing times…” (Charlie you totally got into the spirit of this – thank you!).
- Sophie at @sofit_herts for doing an amazing job with her virtual classes, keeping us sane and fit!
- @mindthetap_mtg is providing us locals with doorstep grocery drop-offs and beer on tap!
- @aesthetic_laundry brings the rainbow tassels jumpers when we need them most (love everything about this brand)!!
- And Jo from @thebabyduckco is sending out ‘Hey Mama’ cards to keyworkers, complete with your message (let Jo know if you want to nominate a keyworker in need of a shout out!).
So there you go. My small contribution to keeping the small business world turning during lockdown (and hopefully beyond!). Check out Charlie’s recommendations, check out her own business at The Mill House, and while you’re at it, check out my copywriting business, too (ta!).
And if you enjoyed this, you might enjoy the rest of the series, too…
- Lockdown limbo – meet Sarah from Flourish Retail
- Lockdown limbo – meet Kate from Cooking & Carafes
- Lockdown limbo – meet Ruth from the Bumblebee Collective
- Lockdown limbo – meet Glenn Fisher, copywriter
- Lockdown limbo – meet Krishna Solanki, brand and Squarespace designer
Photo credits: Photo of Charlie and family by @ashleydashley_. All other photos taken from businesses’ own Instagram accounts.