The calm before the storm
None of us saw Covid-19 coming and phew, it's definitely been a storm. But like every good storm, no matter how destructive it is, there's calm afterwards. Even in the midst of a perfect storm there is calm at the eye of it all and having a small social media agency that believes that ethical marketing is the way forward, you can imagine how coronavirus whipped everything into a bit of a perfect storm. Although it's only now in hindsight that I can call it perfect because winning and then losing your dream client in the space of six weeks feels like a very ugly storm when you first look at it.
But everything happens for a reason.
There's no such thing as wasted time or effort
Newton's third law of physics states that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" and that boys and girls is just about the truest thing I've embraced this lockdown. Back in December I had seen LIHA Beauty post on social media that they were looking for a part-time content creator.
I'd been following them on social media for a couple of years and this was quite literally my dream job. A duo of black women with a beauty brand that was natural and empowering but also young and relevant? And a job creating social media content that was creative first and sales driven second? Sign me up. I applied and when I didn't hear back I dropped them a DM just in case. Listen, if you're ever applying for something you've always dreamed about don't be scared to make your presence known.
During January I spent hours working into the early morning at my mum's place in East London (not the cool hipster part) getting my response to the shortlisted applicants' task ready - you can view it here if you'd like (I'm all for transparency and using my experiences to help others). I got selected for interview and headed off to High Wycombe for an interview at the beginning of February and to my absolute joy I got the job.
And then along came Covid-19. Well, it was already around but it hit the UK shores with a vengeance mid-March. One of my last trips to London was going to High Wycombe to have a brand strategy day with Abi and Liha, the founders, and I remember leaving feeling like this was it. Dream client, dream brand and dream job. What could go wrong?
Don't hate the player, hate the game
How you like them apples? That gallery is a snippet of some of the work I created while at LIHA. Working on newsletter content to social media posts to Facebook ads to brand collaborations and website management, that content creation role quickly turned into a fully fledged marketing manager type of position.
During this time I also moved home (something which would usually be no issue had the nation not gone into lockdown). So imagine. I've got my dream content creation job, the role is quickly spiralling into a marketing manager role and I'm moving home. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you would have seen my very teary breakdowns as I was left without WiFi in a flat with terrible mobile reception.
Suddenly what looked like a dream was turning into a nightmare. I'm not ashamed to admit I hung my phone out of the window in a plastic Farmfoods carrier bag to get 4G connection when it become clear that there was going to be not much compassion to my situation. I remember getting a text to say I'd have to be let go and I sat outside my new flat wondering how this dream had turned into a nightmare so quickly. I cried like a baby then sucked it up and wracked my brain about how I could get some connection.
Everyone handles pressure differently and while I'm a big believer in leading with kindness, the reality is business can be cut throat and no one owes you understanding, compassion or support. That's just the way it is so don't hate the player, hate the game.
You're hired to do a job and at the end of the day that's what you need to do regardless of global pandemics, no WiFi and moving home.
My team saw the joy on my face as I announced to them I would be leading on LIHA Beauty and then the soon disappointment when I had to tell them I was no longer working with LIHA Beauty.
During my time working with Abi & Liha I created some truly amazing work and helped raise e-commerce sales through email by almost 1,000% - go me. But I also learnt that resilience is so important in business and compassion is something I value more than anything now and everything we do at Stuffs is about being soulful. It takes time but we want to always say we're genuinely caring about people's wellbeing.
Hours after Abi messaged me to send my final invoice I got a call about an amazing new client and I can honestly say, everything happens for a reason.
Is there anything I would do differently?
No, I can genuinely say I wouldn't. We often learn our biggest lessons through hardship and loss. I may have lost what felt like a dream client at the time but what I've gained in confidence at being able to now lead my team with the solid conviction that compassion business leadership is the name of my game is worth more than I can put into words.
A big thank you to Abi and Liha for allowing me to enter the world of LIHA for those short but eventful first six weeks of lockdown. I still burn my LIHA Queen Idia candle while working to this day and I can't wait to order it again. At the end of the day we all need to be uplifted and supported, and it's an honour to be able to support them with my custom. Along with the thousands of people support black owned businesses right now it's awesome to see them glowing upwards and onwards.
Have you had a similar experience happen to you? I'd love to talk. Hit me up on email and let's talk work stuffs.