Our first launch range sold well. We had dared to breathe a small sigh of relief. We'd done it! We'd launched a new company. Everyone seemed to like us. We were selling things and we were creating things and our team of young adults with disabilities were embarking on their exciting new roles, learning new skills and training in a real life work environment. We had found a way of planting trees for every order to help keep our customers carbon neutral! All was goooood.
And then... life went weird. A global pandemic was certainly not included in our business plans or projections and we were somewhat befuddled as to what to do.
Several months in. Despite the odds. We have just launched our second range. We found, unlike so many other small businesses, that because we were already fully online, we could carry on, albeit through gritted teeth and not necessarily as we would have planned it. But where there is a will there does seem to be a way. (Typed with fingers very firmly crossed, so excuse any mistakes!)
During lockdown, many of the young adults we work with from Post19 have been staying at home and working via Zoom, and even those few coming into base have been keeping in strict 'bubbles' based on those they live with, which has worked wonderfully to keep them safe, but has meant the majority of our team's involvement with TheTh3rdlevel has been put on hold and the few team members who are still working with us are mostly distance learning and working from home, with an occasional visit for those who really struggle with the 'new normal'.
A Spring range then was a huge deal, and became a collaboration between our brilliant team of mentors, who sourced ethical, sustainable garments and have been concentrating on building up a network of like minded, ethical suppliers. Our wonderful local screen printer, who has been very patient with us and always works flexible hours to accomodate us. Our young adults consulted with us on our product choices and shifted their focus towards working tirelessly during our online Design sessions to come up with artwork for the whole range. They were amazing and we are super proud of everyone's design work. Go team!
Photoshoots have been a logistical challenge to say the least, but we think we cracked it! Luckily we have a very large empty industrial building at our disposal temporarily which meant we could create a safely distanced photo set. Very few people were allowed on set, meaning everyone multi tasked, (whilst freezing because we needed to keep windows and doors open so that everywhere was well ventilated) Our photographers were part of our team bubble and all Staff continued to wear their PPE and kept distance. Our wonderful volunteer models, who worked in shifts of their own bubbles, with a thorough deep clean in between, did a valiant job despite never having modelled before and being begged to participate at short notice purely due to their being in a bubble with one of our team! We are so grateful to everyone who helped. We simply could not have launched our products without your help.
Our only two available TheTh3rdlevel models, Alex D and Alex V, behaved like true professionals and showed the rest of us the way to do it - wearing their masks when they needed to and only removing them when 2 m away from everyone else, in front of the camera. We are so proud of how they have adjusted to such radical changes and stayed focused and motivated throughout.
Onwards and upwards TheTh3rdlevellers!
Do check out our new range here:
This week's blog post is written by Katie, our Creative Director.
Special Thanks to Jacob, Josh, Aleck, Charlotte, Joe, Flo & Ruby for giving up their weekend and helping us on our latest shoot. You are wonderful! x