Recovering Kindred Spirits & Covid 19
This week’s Business showcase highlights the impact of Covid on a business overnight, alongside 10 years business support provided by…
Recovering Kindred Spirits supplies achievement tokens to people recovering from addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling and so on. The bulk of our business comes from the Anonymous Groups of members of, for example AA, CA, NA etc although never the actual Fellowship Headquarters themselves. Also we supply Treatment Centres and Rehabs. By invitation, we attend the Conventions these Anonymous Groups organise to sell our products direct to the attendees, around 8 per annum.
The individual cost of the items we sell range from £0.85 to a maximum of £16.00 for the tokens although we have sold related identifiable jewellery and meditation books upto £40.00 per item; so low cost in the majority.
I remember vividly when we got our first order in September 2009 rushing down the stairs at Auborough Street where we rented office space & whooping and hollering with Jenn & Julie who celebrated with us, giving rise to the tradition of ‘cream cake Friday’. Julie moved on to set up and run her own business, history recalls the changes to our business as well as “The Enterprise Centre” and Yorkshire in Business as is now, but suffice it to say, just before the lockdown we were talking to Gail & Jenn about registering for VAT as our business turnover had reached almost VAT levels.
Come the lockdown 17th March, our turnover tumbled by 85% overnight as all the Groups closed and the Conventions were cancelled to respect social distancing and the lockdown measures.
Happily our business is geared with a healthy ratio of cost : performance, so the less we sell, the less it costs in direct costs. Indirect costs were examined and reduced as far as possible so as not to erode our reserves so that we can restock when the lockdown becomes lifted. Teresa & I didn’t take a wage for almost 2 months to help the situation. I started looking for a part time job to tide us over.
Then we saw a wonderful video from Jenn on the support group about how to claim a grant for self-employed, step by step, what a relief!! We did and we got it, we live to carry on and Jenn has confirmed we can get a second one in August which will help further still.
Our business has reshaped now and we’re back to around 55% of what it was, which for us is a healthy and sustainable level. Groups who once met face to face now meet face to screen through Zoom, Facetime and other media platforms. We send out achievement tokens to people who have reached levels of abstinence on their instructions so where we used to send out less in number but larger in bulk orders we now send more orders but for single items. Members of the Anonymous Fellowships are now buying their own tokens as well & sadly a testimony of the social implications of lockdown on drink, drug & food abuse means the Rehabs and Treatment centres are busier than ever.
What has been incredibly important & helpful during this time is the bubbly enthusiasm that Jenn shows, despite the efforts she must have made to support her own business & staff. She was more on the ball regarding information on grants & financial assistance even than our own accountants. The flow of information, the way the businesses that she supports are brought together through media is just lovely.
We as a business are not faceless, we are Bill & Teresa (and Penny dog) with hopes, aspirations, goals and fears & what Jenn & her team at YIB have managed to achieve is a thread that links us in a professional but incredibly human way so we never feel alone or isolated or unsupported. That deserves much wine as well as praise.
Jenn we remember when you were wondering all that time ago if you could achieve what you wanted when you launched YIB when the Enterprise Agency Movement was in crisis Neener, I told you so!!