Right now, a lot of businesses face uncertainty. Small businesses have been forced to close, or lay-off staff. Other businesses have had to come up with new ways to adapt to the situation, offering delivery services or pick-up only. Other businesses have had to try and cope with the new demand, re-stocking the shelves as soon as the products are flying off.
Never has there been such a demand for toilet roll, tinned food and pasta. As a nation, we’re running out of face masks, gloves, scrubs and protective gear. Companies that used to spend their days making clothes, have now changed to making protective gear for hospitals and uniforms for hospital workers.
At a time like this, with businesses struggling everywhere, it is not the best idea to have consumers on your bad side, or to face harsh criticism. Now is the time to put your best PR foot forward and get the good headlines while you can.
We’ve already seen examples of both cases, with consumers claiming to never buy from certain companies again, given how they’ve handled the worldwide pandemic and other companies gaining new consumers, as they’ve handled the crisis exceptionally.
When all of this is over, you want to be one of the companies that will be remembered for their generosity, their commitment to their consumers, and good nature for people in a time of such crisis. You won’t want to be remembered as a thoughtless company, grabbing money where you can or being negligent towards consumers and staff.
For the NHS workers
A lot of companies have started serving free hot drinks and food to NHS workers, with just a flash of their ID card. The movement was started by Pret a Manger (from what I seen) who at the very beginning of the pandemic, were offering free hot drinks and 50% off of everything else in their stores.
Next came Starbucks, Costa Coffee and McDonald’s. Tesco then started operating designated store hours for both the elderly and NHS workers, so that they could do their shopping at their own pace and also be able to buy the things that they needed, without coming to the store and finding empty shelves.
Clothing manufacturers such as O’Neills Sportswear in Ireland and Under Armour in the US, stopped operating the production of sportswear and instead have started making scrubs and carer uniforms for those in the NHS and carer industries. O’Neills had laid off over 750 members of staff before the production started and had been able to rehire 150 people to start making the scrubs.
The fashion industry
In a time when everyone is working from home in their best lounge-wear from Pretty Little Thing and spending hundreds of pounds just to lounge in their house and look somewhat fashionable, the rest of us have stopped buying clothes altogether.
A step in the right direction for fast fashion and a huge drop in consumption of clothes to be worn once and never again. We are no longer searching for an outfit to wear at the weekend, instead wondering how many more times I can wear the same leggings before they need to go in the wash.
The luxury players in the fashion world have since been showing the world how they can do some good in times like these and help during such a crisis. Ralph Lauren has donated $10 million to Covid-19 relief charities, and Donatella Versace and daughter Allegra donated €200,000 to an ICU department in a hospital in Milan.
Another Italian designer, Sergio Rossi has donated €100,000 to two Milan hospitals, as well as announcing that all proceeds from sales on the designer’s website will go to Covid-19 relief charities.
Chiara Ferragni, who was one of the first bloggers that I ever followed online and who now has her own fashion empire, started a campaign on social media last month and managed to raise 3.8 million euros, to be donated to hospitals in Italy.
I tried to find some uplifting stories from the UK’s fashion world, but found that Victoria Beckham and her husband (you know who) have very recently purchased a $24 million high-rise condo in Miami. Perhaps for the isolation period?
I Saw It First should’ve seen it coming
One of biggest culprits of fast fashion, I Saw It First hit the headlines recently for trying to make money off of the Coronavirus pandemic. Since no one is purchasing any outfits that include jeans, leather or sequins, most fashion brands have taken to advertising a lot of lounge-wear and also encouraging their influencer ambassadors to do the same.
I Saw It First took things one step further to monopolize on the Corona pandemic. They started to offer free bottles of hand sanitizer with every clothing order. Where on earth was the logic there? Did they really think that would have went down well with everyone?
It was definitely a bad call on I Saw It First’s behalf, and consumers weren’t too slow to take to social media to say how they really felt.
Sports Direct the necessity
Somehow Mike Ashley thinks his Sports Direct stores are a vital part of every day life and need to remain open during this Coronavirus pandemic. Mike Ashley seemed to think Sports Direct were the ones responsible to keep the UK active – hadn’t he heard about Joe Wicks’s YouTube channel?
I’m pretty sure a reduced pair of Adidas leggings or a yoga mat is not what the world needs right now, nor do we need to go into stores to purchase them when we have the wonders of Amazon at our fingertips.
We all know Mike Ashley is a man about money and isn’t the most noble or charitable people in the world, so this came as no surprise really. He has since issued an apology and has comprehended that his sports stores staying open alongside our grocery stores and hospitals was not as much of a priority as he had thought. But of course, the damage has already been done.
Where are the billionaires?
We all remember the time when Notre Dame was burning to the ground and all of the world’s billionaires were rushing to its rescue. Money was thrown at the famous landmark left, right and center, to help it on its way to recovery.
Where were these billionaires when Australia was burning to ashes or when Haiti was in crisis, or Hurricane Katrina struck? Where are they now when we’re facing something the world has never seen?
Jeff Bezos makes over $8 million per hour. It’s impossible to even imagine having that much wealth. He’s just today announced that he will be donating $100 million to Feeding America. However, hospitals need the money, America needs more ventilators, we’re running out of protective equipment in hospitals and care homes.
The world needs all of the help it can get right now.