Bdaily Festive Focus 2020: Pivot founder Alice Moxley on being agile, staying ethical and taking a break this Christmas
As we enter the week of Christmas, Bdaily spoke with Alice Moxley, founder of ethical jewellery social enterprise Pivot, about starting a business 49 days before the first lockdown and thinking on her feet during a busy festive season.
How has 2020 changed the way that you live, work, and think?
“It’s a hard one to answer because of course the pandemic has been a monumental change for everyone, but for us 2020 was also the year that we incorporated Pivot.
“To start a business 49 days before we went into national lockdown probably wasn’t the easiest time to do this, but somehow we’ve got through and I’m looking forward to a year where our challenges might be a little more “standard”.
“I’ve always been a bit of a planner but startups in their very nature make you think on your feet a lot of the time and with a pandemic added into the mix the way we’ve been working this year has had to be very flexible.
“It’s made me realise that not being wedded to plans can be a huge advantage, and being such a small and young business, we’ve been able to be super agile in everything we do.”
What has been your single biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?
“Probably the lead up to Christmas has been the hardest for us. We spent the summer very quiet on sales, with limited reserves to invest in stock for Christmas.
“Having never done a “proper” Christmas before (the last one we only sold for a week at a pop-up), it’s been a real challenge predicting how much stock we are going to sell.
“Again, add Covid into the mix, even mentors and more experienced retailers in the industry have struggled to advise us on how things might go!
In November we got some really large wholesale orders, which allowed us to invest cash into stockpiling and our wonderful makers have been working really hard to get stock levels up for the Christmas rush.
“Needless to say, next year we’ll be starting our Christmas preparations some months earlier!”
What has been the biggest unexpected positive to come out of this year?
“The response to our bookmarks have been incredible. At the end of March I sat down with a friend of mine that I studied architecture with and explained that I wanted to create something that people could send out to their loved ones that they could see or hug, and let them know that they missed them.
“I spoke to loads of people about what they missed the most (for me at the time it was beer in the pub!) and so many people said it was hugs. So we created a hug in the shape of a bookmark, starting off by making 100 thinking they’d be limited-edition.
“To date we’ve sold over 1,200, created over £1,000 for Crisis’s covid campaign, it’s been featured in numerous blogs and a couple of podcasts, and is going to be part of the Museum of London’s artefact collection from the pandemic.
“It stabilised us over the first few months of the pandemic and kept our four makers in work over that period which was amazing.”
What does your ideal Christmas look like?
“I think I can speak on behalf of the whole team that we all need a good sleep! Working in retail over the Christmas period has honestly made me appreciate the more wholesome side to the festivities a lot more.
“I’m really looking forward to catching up with my parents and not talking about Pivot for a few days!”
How do you think people and businesses can support each other during 2020’s festive season?
“It’s been incredible to see the support between small businesses this Christmas and before then over the pandemic.
“There’s been a huge push for people to buy ethically, and we’ve had a lot of support for what we are doing.
“I think we just need to keep doing that, being open to helping each other with opportunities and collaborating where possible.”
What does 2021 look like for you and your business?
“We’ve decided that January is going to be down time for everyone, we’ll be making a little less, and focusing more on reflection for the year (we turn one on 3rd February).
“Having been approached by a number of hostels this year and having successfully launched a project in Taunton, we’ll be looking at how the model can be scaled.
“Of course they’ll be a few more collections, and we’re hoping to develop the wholesale side of our business. My dream is to build some permanent workspace for our makers, so perhaps that’s not a bad thing to aim for?”
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