This month I’m writing my blog whilst getting used to life in yet another lockdown – as will most of the people who read it. It’s such a strange time and my heart goes out to anyone working on the frontline for the NHS. Losing a loved one during this time is unbearable. Normally January sees me busy planning all the exciting events I will attend, alongside making lots of feathers and hats to build the stock levels back up after the Christmas rush. I am cracking on with the latter after a fantastic festive season of sales, but it feels like we’re in limbo with events…
It’s hard to know what to feel – one moment we’re being told how brilliantly the vaccination programme is going and we get a glimmer of hope that we will have a normal summer, the next we have a reminder of how awful the situation is in the hospitals. It really has made life even tricker for small businesses to know how to respond. I wrote a little bit last year about how the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the focus for Hayfield changed quickly from events, shows and selling face to face, to selling via the new website and social media.
I count myself really lucky that I already had a relatively new website and could crack on with ensuring all the products were uploaded and looking good. That first lockdown drove people online with so much time to scroll and browse, so Facebook and Instagram became key sales tools. We had some excellent PR wins last year too, with Hayfield hats being featured in Country Life, OK!, Horse & Hound and many more, all at the same time as people had more time to consume media. Digital media subscriptions increased by a third last year – yes, a lot were Netflix and Disney+ but it included plenty of magazines and online news sites too!
2020 was certainly tough but I can put my hand on my heart and say I made the very most of a bad situation. Hayfield enjoyed fabulous online sales during the first and it made my heart soar to see people sharing their snaps, getting dressed up to go to the supermarket or for a dog walk, in the absence of anything else to dress up for! But right now, it’s hard to know what to do next. Do we plan to attend events and hope for the best, or keep working hard on those online channels in case the summer turns out largely like the last one? It’s not in my nature to stand still and do nothing, so you can be certain that you’ll still be treated to new launches from Hayfield in 2021!
Speaking of new launches, it would be fantastic to hear from our customers and followers to see what they think should be added to the Hayfield collection. I love getting your feedback on social media and seeing your images of you out and about (when you’re allowed!) in your hats and feather pins. Make sure you let me know what you would most love to see next from Hayfield and keep tagging us in your posts. It’s the closest we can get to the face-to-face connection which helped to launch the brand just a few years ago! Hopefully it won’t be long until we’re back enjoying countryside and horsey events together again… until then, stay safe.