5 months into opening my very first shop Kapada Vintage I didn’t expect to have to suddenly close my doors for the foreseeable future. At the time I didn’t know how long it would be closed for. Weeks? Months?
As more and more businesses had to close it was hard not to get wrapped up and feel depressed. After having a few days off, taking it all in, I felt I had to adapt to survive the hard times and saw it as an opportunity to grow my online business. After all that’s where Kapada started, online. Adjusting to working from home again wasn’t an issue for me. The biggest stress was the fear of the unknown. Not knowing how long it would last or if people would still shop with me.
I always try to stay positive and got to work listing online as many of my gifts and independent brands that I stock weren’t on my webshop. I also started to offer free local delivery in Swindon. I felt it was very important to offer new exciting products, regularly showcasing them on social media. This has been a great success and the local community has been so amazing and very supportive.
Not many big businesses could offer next day or same day free delivery. Not sure it would have been as good without social media especially Instagram. Instagram is such an important tool for any business. It’s where you can really interact with your customers through live videos, stories and comments.
I feel as though a lot of small businesses are thriving at the moment, I think people have really wanted to support SME’s as we are the ones that won’t survive without customer support. It’s been amazing to see so many small businesses adapt and change to make sure they can still generate some business.
There’s been so many ups and downs during lockdown but I feel very lucky to have a great support network and an understanding landlord. Sadly there isn’t masses of financial support for business like mine that don’t pay business rates.
I reopened Kapada on the 16th June and have been open for about 2 weeks now. I’ve had a mix of busy and some quieter days. It’s been so good to be back open and back to some sort of normality. I keep the door open and have hand sanitiser by the door available for people to use before they come in and before they leave.
I’m also steaming clothes after they’ve been tried on. I do get the vibe that a lot of people aren’t quite comfortable to go back into shops yet. To help those who aren’t ready yet, I’m offering delivery and a free click and collect service.
Things obviously aren’t going to be back to normal suddenly and we have to continue to adjust and adapt, and just generally have faith that people will continue to support small businesses. I hope the next three months will mean Kapada slowly getting back to where it was at the beginning of March and I can continue to grow my little business.