Sarah Clark, Principal Designer and Director
So this week normality finally started to return to my life at Nine to Eleven…. I began my new routine in my beautiful relocated work office (now on the showroom first floor!) and boy not only did it feel good! But WOW it truly looks good! My team of magical volunteers have been busy giving my office space the Interiors at Nine to Eleven factor, how lucky am I? I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for the people I am blessed to be surrounded with day by day.
Whilst we are not yet 100% operational, there is so much to consider for the relaunch of the showroom and the business. Running my very own fempire is rewarding and challenging enough on a daily basis however relaunching the business model into a protected socially distanced world as well as supporting a team of fellow females, doing the work /home/ baby or home /school life juggle is a logistical nightmare in itself, oh yes that and the furloughed system to navigate too – ah the joys of being a small business owner!
Joking aside – there are so many joys of running this business, even the challenges must be embraced and celebrated, and let’s face it, they don’t get much bigger running a small business throughout the COVID –19 outbreak, I’m sure many of you can relate.
Facing the Lockdown period, I made many decisions very swiftly to ensure the survival of my business and maintain the ability to communicate with everyone. My home office has been essential to stay in touch and try to keep a handle on the business needs and from here I’ve been able to use my time at home to really focus on all the outstanding tasks that we always push to the bottom of the list!
When you start your own business, everything is so new, and you learn so much along your journey. You make many mistakes which you learn from and you must refine things as you go. As you grow these things can often overwhelm you and you can easily lose sight of the reason why you began in the first place. There are many pitfalls of business growth and its tricky keeping the right balance. So having this opportunity to spend valuable time working on the business has truly enabled the reset button to be pressed.
I’ve spent time reflecting on the business, analysing how I could make things work in a virtual way. Making a number of small changes often produces big results and being adaptable to change has been essential in my forward planning. New marketing strategies have been implemented to reflect virtually what we showcase in our beautiful store, navigating our social platforms and teaching myself how to be a Master of Marketing has been such a fun and interesting experience.
I’ve used my time wisely, downloading the Audible app to listen to my self-improvement books for my daily 5k so I can develop my skills whilst nailing the daily exercise routine! This has surprised me so much, finding that often I’ve added another 2k on to my walk without even noticing….easily done in the breathtaking North Yorkshire countryside! Exercise has been so important for me during this Lockdown to keep me focused and motivated, as I believe that well-being is key. Listening to Podcasts is something new too, what a discovery of new mentors, comedians and inspirational speakers there are to be found! I am currently listening to the audio book Start With Why by Simon Sinek, and I would highly recommend!
Analysing all the business systems, (a laborious job) has been one that I have been procrastinating for much time (Yeah OK I can feel my Coach’s “I told you so” stare as I type!!) so now was the time to JUST DO IT! And I can’t believe I am saying this, but it is finished!!!! And what a feeling it is to review what it takes to run this business. The attention every task demands is carefully considered and organised in such a way that our ultimate goals are executed in the best way possible, resulting in a glorious experience for not just our wonderful customers but also my outstanding team every step of the way.
Throughout the Lockdown whilst I’ve been working thoroughly on the business structure, it has made me realise that this relaunch is just like creating a new business, now that is exciting! Here is my opportunity to fine tune all the items that need a bit more time, effort and love and to develop areas that we know we can improve and expand.
So here it comes…..
I have been able to address the systems that run this wonderful team, improving our efficiency whilst introducing extra safety measures both in store and in your own homes. There are new guidelines, risk assessments and method statements for carrying out all the services we provide. We will be introducing a new fit team who are highly knowledgeable and fully operational in their improved health and safety regime. We have made all the changes required and more to the showroom to ensure we keep everyone safe. The safe working number of customer to staff ratios required have been worked out through many (hilarious) role play scenarios.. well you would expect us to have plenty of fun wouldn’t you!! And the showroom has all the necessary PPE and sanitising stations you could wish for so we are going to be THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE!
But the most exciting thing of all is we are re-opening our beautiful store on SATURDAY 4th JULY 2020 at 10AM!!! And what a showroom it is.. Be ready to be inspired by our new wallpaper and fabric displays showcasing the latest trends from our exclusive design houses. The loft showroom has now been re-opened with our most popular wool theme taking the lead and our wonderful fabric and wallpaper libraries have been… wait for it….. EXPANDED!!!!. We are operating a new way to experience the design centre; “By Appointment Only”. So we can now offer the design centre experience in a more personal, socially distanced and safe way for everyone. Our appointments will be spaced out with sufficient cleaning time in between to ensure proper safety guidelines are adhered to. Appointments will be booked in advance, but also some time will be kept aside for walk in appointments although these are filling up fast!
The haberdashery has had THE ultimate face-lift in the form of William Morris! It is truly a vision of beauty enhanced by our ultimate beauty, Wendy herself, who will be returning alongside the phased return of the team to help navigate you through the new look store. Our ground floor, first floor and loft showroom will be open 6 days a week and can easily accommodate 3 households at any one time with an inside waiting area available for one more customer heading up the queues outside.
We also have a new ‘Shop Now’ page on our website, so you can see a snapshot of some of the items available to buy now, AND we have a new Instagram page where we are constantly posting items ready for sale now.
We have linked my Instagram page for you, our friends of 9-11 who might be missing out on my personal feed, it gives the inside track on what Maxy the Dachshund is up to too!
So we are excited beyond words and so eager to see all our wonderful friends of Nine to Eleven again..
We are ready!!!!! ..Are you ready for us?
Please, if you don’t already, follow us on social media (above) for sneak previews of our beautiful showroom and sign up to our newsletter (below) to get the latest news from my fabulous team.
Please call 01653 691444 or email email@example.com to beat the queues and secure your appointment now!!!
Until next time……
Be brave, be bold and live life in colour!