2020 – The Year Of Change
This year has been eventful to say the least. We started off with a bang, fully registering our company as a (Pty) Ltd! Orders were flowing in and my confidence in selling more shutters and skylight blinds was rising! Then Covid-19 happened and our business as well as the world ceased to exist as we knew it. Read below to see how our year progressed.
Up until the end of March 2020, business was running smoothly. With staff excited for a new year we were busy and loving helping customers upgrade their homes and offices. Our orders included blinds for Doctors, return customers, blinds repairs, Supply-Only orders, shutters and Outdoor blinds.
I can still remember lockdown being announced and feeling the intense pressure to install up to the last second. I loathe when customers need to wait longer than usual for their orders. One of my installers was busily installing an order until around 8pm March 26,2020. He called me to let me know he was racing home before lockdown began.
Lockdown: A Time For Introspection
For 6-weeks I hunkered down with my family. The phone lines stopped ringing. The doorbell never rang as my blinds deliveries had ceased. I had nothing I could do.
Everyday I worried about my loyal staff and wished I could do something to ease their burden. We had sent home my employees with a care package of toilet paper (remember when we were worried it would run out), boxed milk, eggs, and bread to freeze.
Truth be told, as a mom, besides for the fear of not knowing what would happen to our business and if we would survive lockdown, I enjoyed the time with my family. I decided to make the best out of a dreadful situation. No longer on the road and busy with customers, I spent my time cooking and baking with the kids and watching them ride bikes. We played board games and read a lot of books. I also found out I was pregnant and had some time to sit and relax.
We spent hours planning to re-open, uncertain how to do so while protecting the health and safety of our staff and customers. After speaking to our HR department we felt confident to re-open our doors in the safest way possible. Sanitizer was purchased in 5L bottles. Hand towels in the bathrooms were replaced with paper towels. Daily Health Questionnaires were placed by the doors to our offices for staff to fill in.
Once we reached level-4 we were open for the selling of security products. We established protocols to keep sales-staff safe while on quotations. We made it through relatively unscathed!
My Personal Covid-19 Story
In June, my youngest child experienced a medical emergency and we raced in an ambulance to the hospital. She needed to be admitted for a small procedure. Myself and my daughter tested NEGATIVE for Covid-19 and she was admitted to the pediatrics ward. We went home that evening. I had one quotation two days later as I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible.
Three days later I started feeling ill. By the next day I was laying in bed without any energy at all and my GP recommended I test for Coronavirus. I was convinced I did not have it. Two days later my life changed and I received a positive test result. I had to phone the one customer I had seen between my negative test result and the positive test result. The customer was extremely kind about the situation.
At 29 weeks pregnant I feared for my health and the health of by unborn baby. Making a long story short, I was ok. I avoided the hospital despite feeling extremely ill. 7.5 weeks later I welcomed a baby boy to The Decor Connection Family.
A New Normal
Quotations aren’t the same as they used to be. I sanitize my hands before, during, and after quotations. My samples get sterilized and I and my customers wear masks and practice social distancing. I try to ensure my customers feel safe and that they receive the same expert service as they did prior to Covid-19. Lead times for blinds has increased since social distancing rules have changed in the factories we order from.
After re-opening, I noticed some trends with my customers. Have a look below at how our blinds sales have changed for the second half of 2020
- Skylights have become more popular as customers use different parts of their homes more frequently.
- Home office blind sales have increased dramatically.
- Larger orders became more common as customers spent lockdown staring at their homes and desperately wanting to make upgrades.
- Supply-only orders have increased as some customers wish to DIY to save on cost.
2021: Off With A Bang
As our first week into work for 2021 ends, I look with hope to the coming year. We’ve placed a number of orders already for our wonderful customers. I will continue to think and behave with positivity and encourage all of you to do the same.
On behalf of The Decor Connection Blinds family, I wish you all good health and success in 2021!