Lifestyle, Notices

Owners Param & Avy Doal of Woodland Leathers talk about how they are coping with the coronavirus

It’s been a tough few weeks since the lockdown but we have remained dedicated and committed to our business and supporting each other and our staff.

Just when we thought a shift in strategy from supplying the trade to the end consumer most of us are required to stay at home, bad timing we thought although we have been surprised at the increase in online sales for small leather goods like wallets and ladies suede and leather bags.

As we are not experts in the management of Covid-19 we are looking at how best we can be prepared if something like this happens again, however, we have coped and adapted very well in the circumstances. Our main warehouse staff member has been assisted and is now furloughed, our on-line colleague is well equipped and working from home producing some extraordinary results listing products on key platforms and keeping our brand alive through social media.

As we are all affected by this virus we thought it would be great if we shared some ideas as to how we continue to operate.

Keeping the customer engaged

It’s hard work at the moment for the Woodland community, it’s staff, our customers and suppliers alike. We are open for business online because our customers are still placing orders, our warehouse is open to the public on a pre-arranged basis only to collect or exchange an order or to collect a previous repair/alteration.

So while we are open to ensure Woodland Leathers long-term future, our key objective will always be the safety of our employees.

Param and Avy have voluntarily chosen to remain at work in our Loughton warehouse on an alternate days basis, we are taking every precaution with how orders are processed, packed and made available to the couriers who collect from us on a daily basis.

We are talking to each other 

We remain in contact with our staff daily through Whats App, e-mails and Zoom, the online meetings software. We do like to see each other’s faces and smiles!!

Initiative comes from the Top down

Woodland Leathers was established over 50 years ago and we have already prepared for a lean few months financially, we will look at what we really need to earn for the foreseeable future whilst this virus is still active. Both Param & Avy are drawing on their own savings to minimise their salaries. We are determined as the 3rd generation to hold onto the values and the culture that our forefathers have developed for us, looking out for each other which makes a difficult time easier to deal with.

Woodland’s suppliers are a key part of our success. We have worked with some of our suppliers for over 30 years and built strong relationships with them which we must protect. Our suppliers are also under pressure, as they also have the virus to contend with, we have paid our suppliers for goods already received by us and our working on future orders at the moment in a very cautious manner as we will require some inventory to keep the current sales going,

Our customers are very important to us, some of whom we have served for a decade or more, one of our customers has purchased 21 ladies leather parkas from us in all the colours imaginable !!!. Most of our customers are quite senior in age and have provided us with the motivation to continue our service as we have always done so. Our customers have kept us positive during this difficult time. They still want to buy Woodland products with our reassurance that we are looking after everyone we come into contact with.

Our website remains open for our customers and thankfully we have seen a significant increase in visits tour website, thank you to Daniela our on-line colleague for this as she is the social media queen.

Thinking ahead

Woodland Leathers is ready to resume business in full as soon as the Government allows this, until then we will place our efforts on engagement with our loyal customers.

What next as a result of this experience?

For the next few weeks and months, hopefully not too long we will remain in touch with our customers through social media, emails, and of course, our website regularly sharing what we are doing as a company and personally during this pandemic. Our latest offer to look after your mental health is to journal using our beautifully handcrafted journals, the designs are very detailed and still take my breath away today when I look at them. The message here is don’t hold onto your thoughts write them down, write about your family, the things you love in life and appreciate.

Thinking positively the lesson we have learnt from this crisis is we need to stop and appreciate the things that matter most to us, money and success will come and go, memories and life experiences will live on forever.

Our best wishes to all of you.

Leave a Reply