Like most small businesses, we’ve been hit hard by Coronavirus.
Most of our sales come from coffee shops, restaurants and bars that are currently closed. These commercial customers will be suffering enormously; despite the measures put in place to support businesses through this crisis, many won’t survive, and that’s tragic for the people that have put blood, sweat and tears into growing their passion into businesses. Or in our case, blood, sweat and tea.
We have loads of loyal customers who buy our tea for themselves, or for their friends and family. Like pretty much everyone else, they are having a tough time now. They’ll be worrying about their own health and finances, and those of their friends and family. Many have responded by buying even more tea – there aren’t many pleasures left right now, really, so why wouldn’t they? – and we’re super grateful to them for doing so.
But above and beyond our customer-base, our hearts go out to the millions of people who have been affected by this virus. Indeed, we too have had some Coronavirus health scares, and scary they most certainly were. It hammered home, first-hand, the stark reality for people working in the NHS, putting themselves and their families at risk to help those in need, without the protection they deserve, underfunded and stretched to the limits. And it’s not just doctors and nurses; it’s the delivery drivers, the cleaners, the pharmacists, the retail staff and supply chain, the teachers, the police… Essential workers, many formerly regarded as ‘unskilled workers’ of course and made to feel unwelcome on our shores until the penny (or the virus) dropped.
So, what are we doing about it? There’s only so much a little business like ours can do. Some of the major tea brands have donated millions of teabags to the NHS, and that is terrific. Their profits will no doubt take a bit of a hit, it’s a lovely gesture they didn’t need to make, and their contribution will be gratefully received by those on the front line, so a big thumbs up from us. Many other businesses and members of the public are doing their bit too, from redirecting their production lines to make PPE and ventilators, to donating their cash to the support the NHS. It’s all very admirable and shows the high esteem in which the nation holds the NHS (although not everyone. Real high esteem would be equipping them appropriately, paying them what they’re worth, not merrily voting down payrises and leaving it to 99 year old veterans walking around their garden to top up the coffers. But that’s for another time…)
So, what we’re doing is a) trying to avoid going under and b) giving our customers the chance to say thanks, with our personalised ‘Brew for a Hero’ gift and c) donating the profits from this product to the NHS. It’s not going to make much difference, frankly, but it’s a gesture, and if having a special cup of tea from a loved one makes people feel a bit better, then we’ll drink to that. And we’re dropping off a few caddies to some of the Essential Workers in our area, to give them our personal thanks too.
Some day, this will be over and we’ll be in a new norm. No-one knows what that will look like, but whatever it is, we very much plan to be around to help everyone rebuild it. Until then, stay safe and well and thanks for buying Twist.