This week we spoke to Nadine from Atamira about how her retail business Atamira has been impacted by COVID-19.
How did you find the level 4 lockdown phase?
Lockdown was initially a surprise, then shock, it happened so fast. Think I was in a daze those first few weeks: confusion, curiousity, and emotions that often were opposites in a short space – really enjoying the slow spaciousness, opposite worry about the reality.
But straight away, we were able to work from home focussing on getting our online shop up to date, organising and tidying up our systems online.
Being a small business with all our systems online has meant we could adapt quickly to working from home and doing what we could. We had a few facebook meetings to keep us connected. The wage subsidy response was very fast and has been a lifesaver. You just had to figure it out as you went which I guess was what the government was doing, we all are doing.
Were you able to sell any goods?
Not initially but in week 3 or 4 we applied to MBIE to sell winter essentials – knitwear, shoes. Living so close to the store and also being able to get orders ready for courier pick up by myself without staff, meant total social distancing was easy and safe.
What did you need to do to prepare for level 3?
Set up contact less payments, clear information about click and collect procedures, hand sanitiser in store, maintaining the 2m distance.
What is Atamira able to offer at this level?
We are able to sell everything at level 3 online and staff can be in-store to work again – we are in-store Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm. We offer free contactless ‘pick up’ in-store of online shopping or ‘pop your head in the door’ shopping for locals. We have added our Gift Vouchers online too for ISO birthdays etc.It seems safe to maintain the social distancing rules for a smaller business when it is just Raglan locals at level 3, which I hope will mean level 2 is functional for all of us in Raglan too.
What has been the most difficult aspect for you over this period?
Having to face the sudden reality of doors shut and know that future months/ winter could be difficult to get through – that the year you thought you were moving through suddenly changed overnight and it’s an unknown. A lot of which you can you do nothing about. A paradox as it’s both difficult and refreshing and has potential. It means a balance of surrendering to a new way and thoughtful adaption with it. The amount of effort needed to suddenly adapt to so much in these times can be exhausting too.
Has there been opportunities to learn how your business might be able to function differently?
Yes, this experience has shown we could become more online orientated and that maybe it is a necessity to expand your base in case things like this happen again, that we also do things differently from most retailers which has a value – maybe we aren’t just retail. It also makes you become more refined in whats working and what’s not and who you want to continue to work with (brands, distributors) and why
Why are you doing this, why are you doing that? Strangely online has become about connection for us at this time. The online support from customers NZ wide and locals has been heart warming, and really a glimmer or hope. Supporting local NZ small business is real.
Do you feel optimistic about the future – both short and long term?
Yes, but also know that it will take perseverance. We don’t know what the next 6-8 months will bring but I do feel optimistic that we can become clearer, more resilient and that by focusing on our strengths and what we do well we could thrive in a more aligned way and it has catapulted that process. Quality over quantity. Would love to see NZ become more locally focused, in what we make, in community, in creativity, supporting NZ ideas and business – less overseas/ global outlooks or buying. Local markets, Friday night late night shopping, quality over quantity, driving our cars less, growing more of our own food, I loved walking the streets of Raglan with virtually no traffic on them …just bikes and people.
What are you most looking forward to when things return to normal, well a new normal…
Friends/ human contact … live music – but that might be a while.