Rising to the challenge of an unforeseen Pandemic was, and still remains a daunting prospect for many businesses.
But it’s not all bad news. Some businesses responded to the crisis with extraordinary agility, not just making the most of a bad situation, but managing to turn a profit, too.
One such company is Hippychick in Bridgwater, Somerset, a company specialising in essentials for babies and toddlers. Hippychick was delighted to be recognised for the way in which it has battled through the Pandemic with an award for ‘Outstanding Ability in Response to Covid-19’ from the Direct Commerce Association at their 2021 awards.
The DCS is a national organisation, originally founded in 2004 by retail business owners including Boden, Charles Tyrwhitt, Hotel Chocolat, and Scotts of Stow. The association is committed to developing its membership. And actively supporting member companies in all sorts of areas including networking events, quality training workshops and white papers spanning many key topics relevant to retail.
Hippychick beat off competitors to win the award by demonstrating its ability to think quickly and to adapt its business to meet the needs of its customers.
Julia Minchin, Founder and co-Managing Director swung into action in March last year with a skeleton staff and minus the support of her husband and co -Managing Director, Jeremy Minchin who was forced to shield for the duration of the first lockdown.
‘Our office staff was reduced overnight from 18 to 5’ said Julia. ‘Some of the team we had to furlough, others worked from home. But everyone, particularly those who were able to come to work, were incredible, having to learn brand new skills within hours. Lockdown forced us to change the focus of our business as our primary customers, suddenly had to assume the mantle of educators, as well as parents. This meant that there was huge demand for our educational toy ranges. The five of us who were in the office had to work in the warehouse almost exclusively for weeks, picking and packing sometimes 600 orders per day. At times I was working 18-hour days to ensure orders got out of the door. But the whole team also did everything they could to help – even those on furlough who made unbelievably generous gestures such as delivering pizzas to us to keep us going when we were still working at 8.00 at night!’
Julia was delighted to accept the award on behalf of Team Hippychick. ‘Though we always knew we had a great team, you never really know how far they are prepared to go until something like this happens. And did they step up to the plate, every single one of them. This award is a tribute to each and every one of them.’