It is hard to find any words for this unprecedented situation that we all find ourselves in...
Like many businesses, large and small, we took the decision to close our Studio when we first went into lockdown in March, with no real idea when we should even consider opening again.
With a heavy heart, I added banner messaging and announcements to the website, and vastly extended delivery times but, much to my surprise, we still continued to receive orders.
I contacted each and every customer who had ordered making sure they were aware that we wouldn't be able to make their orders immediately and I offered to cancel every single order and was expecting a series of messages asking me to do just that. That's not what I got.
Instead, I received an inbox full of heartwarming, kind and thoughtful messages from customers. Not a single cancellation. Customers who were happy to wait; pleased to support a small business; customers who had ordered in plenty of time anyway, who were happy to wait for their order...
... and it made me remember the most important thing about my business. Every single piece we make is special to someone. We don't always get to know the back-story or the sentiment behind a gift. We concentrate our skill into making beautiful keepsakes, but we don't always see the story behind why they were purchased.
Those messages reminded me why we do what we do; why we make the products we make, and why people trust us to create something which captures their sentiment and helps them put a smile on the face of someone they care about.
We aren't key workers. Jewellery isn't an 'essential item'. We can't switch output to producing ventilators, masks or other PPE. When lockdown came, the products we make felt like unnecessary ornaments in a world which had changed beyond recognition in a matter of days.
Those customer messages, though, made me think again. In a world where we are locked down, and worried about what's happening around us, finding a way to show support, sympathy, friendship and love is just as important as it ever was. The feelings, the sentiment, and the need to connect with others haven't gone away, and that's made me determined that we're not going away, either.
I started this business, more than 14 years ago, from my kitchen table, I still have that table... and during March & April I put it back into service! It wasn't an easy decision to make - because I knew there would be people who say "We should only be doing essential work, right now!" - but our mental health, after all, is just as important as our physical well-being - and in a world where it is even more difficult to celebrate or have any joy, perhaps the few smiles I could still help provide, would prove priceless.
In May, I went back to the studio and made sure it was safe for Tilly and Beth to join me, and a couple of weeks later Molly returned, and.Georgia is back with us today, Tim is helping remotely with online Chat, Facebook enquiries and admin, so we don't have more people in than necessary - and with our Studio being a rather large, old Victorian Fire Station, with 5 separate working areas, keeping ourselves socially distant from each other is, thankfully, quite easy!
So there we go... Morgan & French is back and we will continue, so you (our customers) can still show others you care, and are thinking of them.
We are blessed that we are all healthy and well, and we are busy working away in the safety of our studio. We are not open to the public and we do not have visitors (except the postman/lady who collects our postal sacks at 5 pm), so keeping ourselves relatively well isolated in the Studio is easy for us.
Every morning we take our temperatures to make sure we are all ok, and we are all!
We are accepting and welcoming new orders during this time, all delivery times may be longer as Royal Mail are so overwhelmed at the moment. We can not guarantee delivery on last-minute orders, so please order in plenty of time for special occasions.
We were only sending orders once a week during April but we are pleased to tell you that we are now sending finished orders every day.
Our phone line will remain offline for the time being but if you have a question please email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you ASAP.