Entrepreneurs talking business during the COVID-19 virus
Nicole Hoefsmit was looking for the perfect breton sweater, but couldn’t find the right one. So, she started Plein Publique.
How is she handling business in these uncertain times?
What measures are you currently taking?
Obviously the first measures we took were applying additional hygiene for every physical contact with our products. While we were of course used to wash our hand before touching and packing our products, we now have disinfecting soap, we wash our hands more often and clean the equipment and door handles daily. Also there is only one person at the time in the storage and packing room. Luckily we were used to work mostly online already from different locations and only met physically once or twice a week. These physical meeting have ofcourse almost completely stopped and if we really need to meet, like for a photoshoot, we keep the 1,5 m distance. On the business side, we have postponed a decisions about one investment, other than that we try to run the business ‘as usual’.
How do you handle your supply chain?
So far we have not experienced any supply chain disruptions. We had a recent delivery from another EU country which went through without a problem. Of course I’m a bit worried, however we have not been informed about any delays. I feel that people understand that it is extremely important to keep the economy running, if only to be able to pay for all the extra medical costs.
How do you arrange everything with your staff?
Plein Publique always had the strategy to work with freelancers, not only to stay flexible, but also to be able to attract the right talent for the task when needed. Meanwhile, and that is important to say, we keep hiring and paying our freelancers in the same manner as we did before, even if they may have perhaps a bit less to do now. And I’m flexible with deadlines if we know that the task has to be combined with kids running in the house; I have three and I know that is not easy ;-).
What opportunities do you see at the moment?
The strategy of Plein Publique has been built on two pillars: being a true online fashion brand and stepping away from the fast fashion routine with collection after collection every six months. We have made our strategic choices with a view of a far away, more sustainable future. However, the current crisis may bring that future closer quite fast which obviously would bring significant opportunities for us. Online shopping may even become the norm and we really know how to handle that, if I may say so 😉 . But also I feel that people will become more conscious of the downsides of globalisation and consumerism, which would hopefully mean a break-through for slow fashion. No more rushed collections of garments which will be worn only once, but instead higher quality classics which last more than one or two seasons and have a much lower cost-per-wear.
Positive thought to conclude with:
Crises make us feel vulnerable. And while that is not a pleasant feeling, it brings humility and reflection. If I see all the inspiring an innovative ideas popping up around me, all the selfless initiatives of individuals and companies, I know that we as a society will come out better, more resilient and more conscious of the community we live in and that we have to care for.
“We need to organise our work better ánd smarter” says Martine Meijburg. Meijburg founded Second Degree in 2013; the first LinkedIn marketing agency (worldwide). A success, as the agency became one of the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands (Silver FD Gazellen Award in 2016), servicing clients such as Philips, KLM and Microsoft.
Martine is an author, public speaker and was listed in The Next Women 100 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the Adformatie100 in 2017. She shares with us her experiences as an entrepreneur and member of The Next Women.
She got into the world of recruitment because she showed talent for it and acted on that: at TNW we love playing out your strengths. Now, with her own company and being a mother of two, Dayanara Vonk Ilaria reflects on her journey: “Leadership really is learning how you can influence yourself.”