The Show Goes On … In A Socially Distanced Kinda Way!
Week 14 of our new Corona world. How is everyone? I sincerely hope you and your loved ones have made it safely and relatively sanely to this point. Anyone else still experiencing random moments of bewilderment at our new normal and the fate of poor old 2020? The year our wheelie bins went out more than us!
Non essential shops were allowed to open at the start of last week and my heart and well wishes go out to them all, especially to the small independents who have been the backbone of the Little Dog’s longevity. Having a shop is more than a job, it’s your life, your baby. Many owners eat, sleep and breathe their little spaces of visual delight and to be forced to close, through no fault of their own and with retail already facing so many challenges, well it must have been absolutely crushing. I know 99% of us preface everything now days with “So many others have it worse” but I also think it’s okay to allow yourself moments to absorb the shock of the “What the hell has just happened?”.
Life at Little Dog Towers has also been surreal. I keep thinking back to the day before we officially went into lockdown, of gathering up everything I might possibly need to work from home. Being the soul occupant in the building, walking through the showroom down to the normally busy dispatch area and looking at the shelves filled with product and white boards full of plans for 2020. All redundant, everywhere eerily quiet. Unbelievable.
However, I digress, the most important thing to share in this latest newsletter is our humble gratitude for your kind messages of support and online purchases. You made our silver linings list! The website has been our only source of income and thanks to many of you, we’ve been able to pay all our suppliers, chipping away weekly at the money we owe. Now, like so many others, it’s a case of hoping invoices get paid and keeping everything crossed that trade picks up as the furlough scheme winds down. Predicting the future is beyond my skill set, I’ve tried but it messed with my tiny brain, so it’s a simple case of taking each day as it comes.
And so, how’s the creativity flow been for everyone during Lockdown? Anyone manage that second language or oil painting masterpiece? No, me neither!
I did however nail the Corona-stone, like a movie star preparing hard for a weight gaining role, it was intense! I also had the urge to write poetry. This didn’t prove quite as easy or successful as the weight gain. I can chalk up at least 5 lockdown weeks to cooking, food shopping, news binging, homeschooling and sneaking off somewhere in the house for a quick solitary weep. And then, with a deadline looming I finally focused my attention on artwork and spent all of May at my desk, wrapped in a blanket, trying to create the 2021 dog and cat diaries, not dwelling too long on the irony of working on a dated product for planning one’s social life. In case you missed it, here is the link to the blog with the full announcement of winners
And then, straight after finishing 2021, it was time for Christmas. Now if that doesn’t mess with your seasons I don’t know what does. On the plus side, my Lockdown endless eating schedule, excessive family time and losing track of the days made channeling the festive spirit super easy!
There are twelve new designs and here’s a sneaky peak at some of them.
And in between the artwork and the eating I also wanted to try to help. With the virus spelling disaster for so many people, the food banks, NHS, refugee camps, charity sectors, domestic violence, it was hard to know where to start. When the situation seems so big, the best advice I ever read was to start small, start with what’s in front of you.
As some of you may remember, we affiliated our Good Sign collection with the RSPCA. Within the 3 year partnership we have certain donation levels to reach. 2020 was our final year and we’d already hit the overall target by the end of the second year. We were excited to try and set a few records but the Covid-curveball put paid to that. So, for the first time ever, I tried a donation raffle via our Facebook page. Turns out it’s really easy to do and best of all, it is free from any admin costs so all the money raised goes immediately to your chosen cause.
Walter the Hare, the original pastel drawing was auctioned off and to say I had butterflies was an understatement. Silly really, but oh, the ego crushing awkwardness if nobody wanted him. The hope was to raise £1000 for the animal charity. Over the two weeks timescale, good old Walter slowly but surely inched his way past the target. Phew! I was so incredibly grateful to everyone who donated. I heard from the winner and she was thrilled with his arrival and has just the wall for him. Happy days!
In other news, with the pace of modern life reduced to go slow, I no longer have any valid excuses to keep avoiding pressing admin tasks. For a long time now my handy little muse owners notebook has become a confusing jumble of names and out of date addresses.
Therefore, I’m trying to create a better system for recording the Superstar muse owners. Hopefully, this way I keep up to date on the sending of complimentary gift lines and cards etc and someone other than myself can navigate the data! If you have ever had your pet appear in the Little Dog range, be it cards, calendar or diary, when you get a moment, if you wouldn’t mind emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and update me with your pet’s name/design, preferred postal address and any samples you’ve previously been sent. This would be an enormous help.
With pre Corona plans now in tatters, the Summer looms large with the not at all novel promise of all my children being at home. ALL the time. Thankfully I was saved from a week of the “Oh NO’s” when these little boxes of soft pastel joy arrived. The genuine burst of happy reminded me that my younger art geek self is still in there. Somewhere. Buried beneath the washing and the homeschooling but definitely alive! I’ve not used them yet but I’m quietly excited at the thought of clearing my project deadlines and admin tasks and then having some time to draw. I’m hoping the artistic results will make amends for the bad poetry efforts.
And that folks is about it, other than to leave you with a Little Dog loyalty discount code to use at your discretion. There are lots of new items in stock including pet accessories and handmade temptations.
And if by chance you use social media platforms, we had a fun week of distraction during May with our Douglas The Boy Wonder collection, lots of giveaway prizes and design witterings on our Facebook page. I’m planning to do something similar with our other collections throughout the summer. You are very welcome to join in and try your luck. This is the Facebook page link https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleDogUK/ and this is our Instagram page link https://www.instagram.com/thelittledoglaugh3d/
Now I definitely will leave you in peace, wishing you all the chance to enjoy a smidge of the promised sunshine for this week, best wishes Anna Danielle and the furloughed Little Dog team xxx