Since taking over the Magical Spaces business at the end of November 2019, we have faced challenge after challenge after challenge! However, nothing was to prepare us for what 2020 was to bring – Covid 19!! Who knew, when starting a small business, we would have to shut our doors for months – would we survive??
When we took over Magical Spaces UK in November 2019, the business had been going for roughly 12 months in which the previous owner had managed to build it to a really successful level.
That to us was exciting as we knew we were taking over something which was established, but still had plenty of room to grow. Of course, when you take over something new, buy a new house, start a new venture you want to put your own mark on it and so we decided to change the design of the dens (more of that procedure in a future blog!!!)
However, due to all the testing regulations and the fact that although the old style dens came with their safety guarantee, some of them needed redoing in our name – therefore we decided to stop manufacturing the old design altogether whilst the new one was created.
In our naive business minds, we thought this would be a matter of weeks but no! It took a good two months before our design was fully completed, tested and registered, only then were we ready to launch!
The date was set for March, we had started the countdown of the launch on social media, orders had been taken already for the new designs and we knew we were onto something exciting.
Literally, the day before we were going to announce the launch of our new dens, Boris told us all to stay in! Told businesses to shut and we know the rest!
We could not believe it! Yet another hold up for us.
Thankfully, our wood shop managed to carry on working for a few more weeks and so they were able to complete most of the orders which we had already taken and they were delivered. Unfortunately, once they had done them they then shut their doors for the foreseeable!
Our wood shop is a charity which provides a work environment for people with mental health issues, so their clients are all vulnerable. It was totally understandable for them to close their doors.
Because our new design featured the lovely lap-joint, part of our new 3 Point Safety Design®, we didn’t have the equipment to do them at home and so we were rendered helpless and unable to make our dens.
What were we going to do?
We took some time to catch up on paperwork and talk about ideas for the future etc but all the time we were getting requests for our dens and we were unable to tell people when we could fulfil any orders.
Thankfully, a lot of people were extremely understanding and we put our pandemic payment plan in place. Zoom was well utilised and team meetings were held very regularly!!
As time went on, we were getting more and more orders and we still had no clue when we were going to be able to fulfil the orders coming in.
Sam then thought it was time to start looking elsewhere for people who could make the frames, temporarily whilst the wood shop was closed. After talking to a few people, Sam managed to come to an agreement with a friend of hers who was in the woodworking industry, who made kitchen units and other bespoke items in a local workshop. Luckily, he agreed to take on the outstanding orders and we were able to ship them out. After a little bargaining and chatting, Ian agreed to do the larger den frames for us for the foreseeable and so a partnership was created!
Our initial wood shop, Claro Enterpirses, is still on ‘diet staff’ as they have called it, but hope to get back to normal in September, although who knows what is going to happen now that numbers are rising again! We look forward to being able to do business with them again!
Penny and Sarah have been amazing through this time and have offered Sam a shoulder to moan and even cry on whilst we have negotiated paying for materials, refunded customers who couldn’t wait any longer and generally faced closure.
On top of all this, just as we were getting back on our feet, poor Sarah suffered a bereavement of a very close family member and so she has had to take a little break from working her magic with the covers. Because of this we have taken on a new machinist to help keep up with orders and Sam has even had to turn her hand to a bit of sewing!!
We have faced some challenging times since November 2019, BUT we have got through it, we have LEARNED LOADS and we are coming back stronger and with so many new ideas! BRING ON 2021!!!!