For Mahoney, the rest of March was a blur. Her two young children – aged 10 and five – were at home for the foreseeable future and her business had been turned upside down. “Like many people I was just concentrating on getting through each day. Thankfully my landlady was incredibly supportive and my fellow traders were all there for each other, albeit virtually.”
But despite the worry, there was also a ray of hope. Her loyal customer base still wanted a touch of the CoLab magic to cheer them up during lockdown. Online sales began picking up, especially for items such as playsuits – perfect for lounging around at home – as well as brightly coloured earrings and prints, both ideal for cheering up Zoom meetings.
Mahoney could see new opportunities. “I decided to focus my efforts on improving the customer experience on my website, building my social media channels and offering free delivery in Bristol. I talked to customers virtually all the time and by April I was in the shop weekly changing the colourful window displays to cheer up passersby,” she says.
Afternoons were spent driving around Bristol, her two children in tow, delivering beautifully packaged orders complete with handwritten notes. By May, sales had doubled again and included more orders from across the UK, and as far afield as the US, Germany and Holland.