I felt it in my gut and knew this would be a tremendous disaster globally, especially when we couldn't order glass supplies from Asia in mid-January and soon started witnessing the virus spread throughout the Middle East. We had our last, but most memorable PR event at Diane Von Furstenberg’s flagship store on March 9, with many customers and supporters in attendance before New York was announced in a state of emergency. Before then, we were already following safe protocols at work and online.
My advice for indie brands is to follow the same, but, most importantly, to be realistic and understand that most businesses will loose between 20% to 40% of sales. Knowing this, cut back on spending, and focus on online and social media growth. For us, health is most important. Therefore, our team was working out of home and meeting in-person once per week. Washing hands for 20 seconds upon entering the working environment was mandatory. Wiping down all electrical devices such such as computers, phones and iPads was mandatory.
Avoiding physical contact such as shaking hands or hugging was discouraged. Even at the DVF store luncheon on March 9, most people practiced the elbow salutation or namaste. We posted safety protocol guidelines on social media for our community and friends to read and practice such as avoiding touching their faces, eyes and mouths. Avoiding crowded places, which by now we have been banned from, but we were not weeks ago.
We posted recipes to make at-home hand sanitizers as they were impossible to find at stores. We posted advice on mental health, and the importance of meditation and keeping calm. Using rest oil, which helps to calm the nervous system, will be extremely beneficial during these stressful and scary times. Stress weakens the immune system and, right now, we need a strong immune system.
We will continue to work out of home, communicate with our community via social media and offer 20% off on all orders as we know that any financial help is welcomed during a time when jobs are scaling back and the economy is weak. May you be safe, healthy and optimistic.