CEO, Fashion Enter Ltd.
What was a typical work day like before the corona crisis?
Actually very similar but as we have furloughed 80% of our staff I have even more jobs to do!!!
I had more face to face meetings – each Monday we used to have the Weekly Team Meetings (WTMs) and we have updated on KPIs and forecasts – these aren’t happening now and I miss that – I miss the team!
When the outbreak started, what was your initial reaction?
This is going to be bad! Sometimes it’s the fear factor that’s worse than the actual cause. I have fabulous friends that have not been out for seven weeks and they are fit and healthy without any underlying health issues but they just won’t come out.
I also did think we were late to start on lockdown, on social distancing etc. The peak has been around April 7th and we had confirmation that the virus was going to grip us in February. I remember thinking surely we will never get to 20,000 deaths, a civilised country with our health care system! We are now over 30,000!
What impact did this have on your day job and how did you adapt?
As soon as the lockdown was inevitable I basically banked as much cash as I could. Asos were brilliant as we had made stock that was not delivered but they paid for it anyway and we had been chasing our old debtors from December onward, so that also put us in good stead.
What are the big challenges you have faced / are facing as the pandemic continues?
I don’t think that people want to come back to work and work the same way anymore…I know that I’m struggling with this. At it’s worst when I couldn’t go out shopping and get food in I seriously thought “who cares about clothes when there is no food on the plate!” We are now making scrubs and other PPE supplies and actually this feels right and worthwhile. I am not sure about making frocks any more but hey, I have staff to pay!
How have you kept going through the tough times?
I walk the dog, ride my horse and I eat loads of curly wurlys!
What acts of kindness have you seen or shown that have made you smile recently?
It’s the little things that count – I have spent so much time on the factory floor helping to get the production out. I spend most of that time coordinating the flow but I also hop on to help with the finishing and packing. It’s been great to get to know everyone at a much deeper level and recently one of my staff, Denise (who is working on backing) complained about a bad back. I had a small fury hot water bottle at home and gave it to her and told her to go home. She was so delighted it made my day!
What has this crisis taught you – both professionally and on a personal level?
Take nothing for granted and keep your spirit level level! We have a great British can-do attitude and I am so proud of what the factory has achieved so quickly!
How are you trying to stay happy and healthy?
I just keep looking at the blue sky and green grass and think that nothing lasts for ever! This time will pass.