They say you should never waste a good crisis! The lockdown came suddenly and intensely just before St. Patrick’s Day. Everything was to close immediately; severe restrictions on movement; no contact outside immediate family members; 2 meter distancing when out for essential shopping; the news from northern Italy; and Spain.
It was hard to comprehend. Lockdown came with a heavy fist - uncompromising and no arguing against.
As I locked the bakery that day in March, it felt like everything done in the fourteen years counted for nought. The uncertainty of the virus and the period of closure; the fear of contracting it myself or a beloved family member, the journey home that day had me floored. It was surreal.
Now, three months on, the changes in our lives and the life of Seymours bakery are profound. Many of our trade customers are still shut. Hotel customers haven’t been able to open for business which accounts for 50% turnover during the holiday season. Retail customers are on limp mode and those on the tourist circuit are still silent. The Irish government and medical advisors have been solid and consistent. Thankfully infection rates are in positive territory and restrictions are slowly being relaxed.
The timeout forced us all to reevaluate our work lives and businesses. For a time, I contemplated pulling the shutters down for good. But a few days away created a craving to think again with the ideas of new products and maybe a new approach? A few days of solitude in the bakery devising new product concepts led to a realisation that a more direct approach to selling may now be justifiable. In light of a sudden withdrawal of all trade customers, it hit home just how important an ability to sell direct to consumers is and will be. Our eCommerce online store here at seymours.ie has been in existence for over 5 years and has as they say been ‘tipping away’. It just existed and functioned but was slow, uncoordinated, and in need of software upgrading (way beyond me).
Which brings us to where we are today. A new website (courtesy of Ultan in Elevate Digital), photographs (courtesy of Peter in Peter O’Donnell Photography), and new gift box products that are designed to be part of our customer’s life journeys. A birthday greeting or a thank you gesture. Or just a note to say ‘Hello - hope you are well’. We are sure our new gift boxes will deliver the gracious sentiment our customers want delivered. In each box are our best creations. All hand made and beautifully wrapped.
Our world may have changed dramatically over the last few months but still, in a definite way, we are more connected. Logistics are so advanced, that in a matter of days, we can ship our shortbread or gift boxes anywhere.
I hope you like our new website and our new product range even more so. These times are still challenging, and COVID-19 remains an ever-present threat to our health and happiness. Hopefully, our small bakery in the southwest corner of Ireland can survive and bring joy when needed.