“The festive period ended up being the best we’ve ever had,” says Harvey. Good enough to carry her with confidence through the typically leaner months of January and February. But then, come March, Hoos, like most shops, had to shut – duration unknown.
Harvey furloughed her staff, but decided to continue working herself, running the online side of the business. It proved a wise move and enabled her to catch a wave of goodwill among shoppers who wanted to support the indies they love. “Because Glasgow and the wider country have got behind us, our online sales have been up by more than 200%,” she says. “Every day I’ve been going in and packing up orders, and bringing them back to my house where they’re collected by UPS. My front hall has started to look like a small warehouse.”
Helping to drive business has been Hoos’s upbeat and intuitive use of social media, whether it’s been platforming new products and spotlighting favourite brands on Instagram or sharing Spotify playlists of music that would have been playing in the shop. “It’s been like running a virtual Hoos,” Harvey laughs.
As someone who is passionate about fostering solidarity among independent traders, Harvey – who received an MBE for her work running charities for young people in a previous chapter of her career – has been keen to support other businesses as best she can during lockdown.
“Throughout this time, I’ve continued to order with independent makers, which has been a real pleasure,” she says. “That includes Love and Squalor, who had a shop on Great Western Road and now have a studio making clothes. I’m their only stockist in Glasgow, so that’s been a lovely collaboration. I think I’ve re-ordered three times in the last three months.”