It has been so inspiring to see many indie businesses thriving and courageously pushing through these changeable times, as life decides to throw us all the biggest curveball ever!
The chance to slow down, take time to reflect and focus on the future - and what really matters - has created a surge of realisation, inspiration and creativity that offers hope to this new world.
Back in June 2020, I spoke to a selection of UK based creatives to find out what life in lockdown has been like for them as independent businesses.
|Hello Dodo founders Ali and Jam outside their garden studio in Worthing|
Hello Dodo is a fun, bright and colourful ethical fashion brand run by the equally colourful husband and wife team Ali and Jam from their home in Worthing.
Going by their fun filled Instagram page you could make a guess that things have been going pretty well for the Hello Dodo team despite the pandemic, but everyone has a story to tell, right?
This interview originally took place in June 2020. Read on for an extra Hello Dodo update at the end of the interview!
|Keep on Raven crop top by Hello Dodo £22|
How are you & what has your situation been like during lockdown?
We are fine thank you, a little tired though as we haven’t had a day off in ages!
We’ve been pretty fortunate during lockdown as we both work on our business from home, screen printing and packing orders from our little studio at the end of our garden.
We have a tiny post office just around the corner which is run by our lovely postmaster Sam so we could continue to ship things safely, which was a huge relief.
Working in this way has allowed us to become pretty much hermits though! We haven’t even been in to a supermarket since mid March so now that lockdown is easing we have to overcome quite a lot of social anxiety or risk becoming total recluses!
|Hello Dodo screen print their own designs by hand|
How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work?
Although we’ve been lucky to be able to carry on running our business we’ve had every single one of our 2020 events cancelled (including artist’s open houses and markets) and also we were due to run our own two week long pop up shop at the end of July.
We also lost a lot of revenue from our lovely stockists being closed too. We turned off International shipping during lockdown (we’ve only just reinstated it on our website) as we felt like the risk of orders being either lost or hugely delayed was just too high.
For quite a while we weren’t able to order in the blank tees and sweatshirts that we print on to either so had to make do with what we had.
The positive impact of lockdown on our business though has been, despite everything, that we are very busy! With actual shops forced to close lots of people turned to online shopping and even better - to supporting tiny independent brands like ours.
|All Hello Dodo prints feature positive messages and fun play on words|
Has this time helped your productivity? If yes, how?
Like most things, it has come in waves!
There has been times, particularly at the beginning of lockdown, when being productive felt almost impossible and we felt overwhelmed with anxiety and the enormity of it all.
Then there’s been other times when being productive and creative has been the best distraction for us. We have managed to do two successful launches during lockdown and we’re currently working on another really big one - so actually maybe we should cut ourselves some slack!
|Hello Dodo's Jam wearing the Grand Bug Hotel unisex sweatshirt £33|
Have you become more or less inspired in this time?
Right now it feels like our inspiration is returning - like the stress was holding it back and now the floodgates have been opened!
In deepest darkest lockdown the main concern was keeping our business afloat. This whole experience has definitely had a huge impact on us though and some of our new designs that we’re working on will nod to that.
|NEW Kids Human Kind print sweatshirt by Hello Dodo £24|
What's next for your business?
We’re just about to release a whole bunch of yummy summer pieces both for adults, kids and babies!
It feels scary and a bit risky but we’re really excited about it all and we’re working with another brand on a tiny limited edition collection plus two self employed photographers. As an indie business ourselves we feel it’s really important to pay for services from other indies.
We’re also getting back on track with our new handprinted vintage label Long Live The DODO which has been delayed by lockdown. Lots of exciting things in the pipeline!
|Ali has been running Hello Dodo with her husband Jam for 9 years.|
September 2020 update
How has life after lockdown been for Hello Dodo?
When we last left you (in June 2020) we were in the midst of working on a summer collection for both kids and adults!
That went really well and we were able to work with two brilliant photographers, one who could photograph her own children and one who specialises in self portraiture. Perfect for covid times!
We’re now straight in to A/W with an adventure theme for kids and a dog theme for adults (with some crossovers!) and we’re planning photo shoots with both photographers again but this time with models.
This feels very exciting as we weren’t sure that it would be a feasible option in 2020!
All of our stockists have reopened too and they’re all really busy, which is a huge relief for everyone!
Winter still feels like an unknown but right now it feels like things are on the up and we’re enjoying that and trying to not worry too much about things that we can’t control!
Visit the Hello Dodo online shop