#WILOT

What's it like out there - July 2020

Welcome to the first post in our series of quick fire content about what's happening in the world of work during the pandemic.

Here are some snippets of the conversations we’ve had with our clients and friends about what they’ve experienced recently:-

The CMO

- Ellie Howard, CMO of Bleach London

How has Covid affected Bleach London?

As an omnichannel brand, we saw customers shift online as retail became focussed on priority goods and services (e.g. pharmacy in Boots), and salons - including our own salons in Dalston, Brixton and Soho - closed to protect staff and customers.

What have you done recently on the fly which has been a success?

We had ambitious plans for a new online platform in the works pre-COVID, but as with many businesses, COVID saw us accelerate the launch of various features, building one in just three days. Along with friends of the brand - Nick Grimshaw, Maisie Wililams and others - we hosted live-streamed Hair Parties, where our Creative Director and Co-founder Alex Brownsell showed viewers how to use our products, guiding them through Bleach, Tone, Colour, Maintain and Care steps to get their desired look at home.

Despite salons now reopening, our repeat customers are up 3x, and we're excited about what we can do with these online services to become the destination for experimental hair.

Who are the most important people in your business right now?

Each member of the team is important. In terms of skillset and background, we're a diverse team. This is by design, as we're looking to blend creativity and logic to build something that's not been seen before. For me, we've been successful if Bleach can be career-defining for stylists, engineers and designers alike.

The HR Guru

- Elma O'Reilly, Founder of Parallel London

How has Covid affected your business and general day to day life?

I am very flexible in how I work anyway so that side of it has not made a big difference. I miss the social interaction and the "water cooler moments". The times when you can just drop over to a desk and ask someone a question has now turned into an email or "when are you free?" text - this I have found surprisingly exhausting!

I also had 14 weeks with a 3 year old at home which was mind blowing, the hardest thing I have ever done but we are both alive at the end of it and she still seems to like me so I think it was ok??!!

What have you done recently on the fly which has been a success?

One of my clients has recruited 16 people remotely during lockdown, so the whole recruitment cycle has had to change. The trust and empathy required in this has been enormous but an amazing challenge and great experience.

Who are the most important people in your business (or the business you work for) right now?

Everyone is playing their part for my clients, which is amazing. The value of collective spirit has never been more important and this is not just coming from leaders but across the business.

What would you say to someone who has been made redundant?

Unfortunately I have been involved in a number of redundancies during this time- not my favourite part of the role for sure.

It is a really scary time and the unknown is felt by everyone and even people who have a job are unsure of what will happen going forward. I think it is time to look at your skills and what you love and look at what is transferable.

Maybe it is a different industry altogether? Also look at who has been successful during this time and gravitate towards those businesses.

Anything else you'd like to add?

It is a new era for everyone and we need to think of future steps as opposed to "going back to normal". Maybe the old world wasn't that great and we need to focus on the positives that will come out of this - more flexibility, better balance and less of the daily grind.

The Fashion Designer

-Edward Crutchley, Founder and Creative Director of his namesake brand and right hand of Kim Jones at Dior Homme

How has Covid affected your business and general day to day life?

It’s made me realise how much I can get done at home! It was a bit of a tough adjustment at first but it’s definitely something I will be doing more of moving forward.

What have you done recently on the fly which has been a positive?

Working remotely in general has allowed me to be more spontaneous. Realising you can’t see everything and encouraging the team to take more responsibility has generally made work a lot more immediate and interesting.

Who are the most important people in your business (or the business you work for) right now?

Definitely our factory. They’ve been fantastic at quickly implementing a post Covid strategy.

What would you say to someone who has been made redundant?

I was made redundant twice in six months before I got the job that changed my career forever. It happens but it doesn’t mean it’s the end. It can open new and amazing opportunities.