A heartfelt message from the hands behind Shepha:
As a small business still functioning in today's challenging environment, we're writing to everyone - partners, customers, friends and anyone else running a small business - from a position of gratitude, hoping our message today will resonate with you and encourage you as we share about our past months.
Recounting just 3 months ago as our country and industry hit a pause (or as we felt, a force-shut-down) button, we were worried about our immediate survival. Being a small business, concepts such as split teams and business continuity plans had little relevance to us, and being in a trade that requires the use of machinery, teleconferencing wasn't even in our dictionary.
We had also just shifted in to our new studio for barely 6 months, and were due for an internal performance assessment. Have we improved our bottom line? Did we manage to channel cost savings into other areas? But these questions now seemed like a luxury, out of context at best. A pandemic of this size pressed right into our faces meant no amount of stepping back could remove it from our immediate view.
Like everyone else, we were caught off guard. Like everyone else, we found ourselves feeling both liberated and incarcerated at the same time. Liberated from the daily grind, yet at the same time boxed in by new constraints.
But unlike everyone else, and perhaps for the first time, or at least tangibly, we felt blessed to be a small team. Being small, it meant we were versatile. It meant we could pivot easily. And it meant we could worry about 500 less employees than the MNC next door. A change of plans meant we could simply turn our heads to one another for a verbal agreement, instead of a brainstorm session, a cost-benefit analysis, a presentation, and clearance from authority.
How liberating - when we realised the scale of our problems were relative to our size.
Our inability to work didn't mean redundancy; it meant new-found time for long-overdue tasks. Our time away from our studio didn't mean zero productivity; it meant we could spend time on strategy, engage more on social media, brush up on our digitising skills, and even conduct our first online digitising workshop, which we believe is the first of its kind here in the local market!
How liberating - when crisis turned into opportunity, when an oft cited (read: stale) phrase became a lived experience.
Fast forward to June when we returned to our studio, we were happy to dust the inactivity off our machines and plug ourselves back into activity. More than that, we were delighted to be plugged back into other people's stories - stories that really inspired us. And here are a few:
These are but a few stories of success and resilience. Our own success story is in being able to still stand tall today, having received support from partners, customers, friends and family; being able to simply pick up where we left off; being able to not only resume, but to continue to grow and plan for the future instead of fighting immediate fires; being able to push for, with renewed fervour, our mission to promote the craft of machine embroidery.
To all who we have crossed paths with in recent or distant history, a heartfelt thank you for being a part of the numerous blessings that we're keeping count of.
From the hands behind Shepha, we're saying a heartfelt thank you.