Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns have put tremendous pressure on the global economy, with New Zealand being no exception.
TEXT: ADAM BRYCE
Extreme times like these are renowned for changing the way that businesses and industries operate — creating innovative productivity methods and new ways to communicate and manufacture.
Here, we speak to Liam Bowden, founder and creative director of leather accessories brand Deadly Ponies.
Have you implemented any changes that you will keep post-lockdown?
A real win for us has been the implementation of ‘live chat’ on our website; originally slated for development over the next six months, our amazing team managed to pull it all together with our website partners in the first week of lockdown. Not only has it brought in the in-store experience to a digital space, it’s given us an intimate interaction between our customers and Deadly Ponies team in New Zealand and around the world.
At Deadly Ponies HQ, we had previously offered flexi-time to our team — the idea of flexibility and working from home, but lockdown has meant it’s gone from somewhat of a concept to a reality that’s been put into practice. It’s shown us all how easy it really can be and the work-life balance it provides.
What have been your biggest take-away lessons from this time?
For each and every one of us, it’s been a focus on more intimate interactions with our customers and Deadly Ponies team, how much our customers mean to us and what it means to support local.
And, as a business, we can appreciate how adept we are at preparing for best and worst-case scenarios. At a time like this, when the worst has eventuated, it has created an environment where everyone feels comfortable and supported because we were prepared for anything. It’s been about decision making that allows for the biggest amount of flexibility. We’ve taken the time to consider our options, create well thought out plans and avoid rash decisions.
In what ways has the lockdown forced you to adjust future plans for your business?
Lockdown has definitely seen us reassess the way we work with our suppliers and partners. We’ve had to deal with constant movement of timelines to provide us with the most financial flexibility. We have had to re-forecast multiple times — what would normally be forecast once, has been forecast upwards of 12 times. And probably not for the last time.
We’re also really seeing the growth opportunity online for Deadly Ponies, it’s given our traditional in-store customer a new channel to experience and we expect to see that purchase choice become a more regular option for many.
Tell us about the low moments and successes you’ve experienced and how they’ve affected your vision.
A low moment has been cancellations of future orders from our wholesale partners. It has really pushed us to reassess how we work from a wholesale capacity, ensuring that the partnerships we do have are mutually respectful and supportive. It’s affected our vision with a continued emphasis on quality over quantity.
A success for Deadly Ponies is the overwhelming support we’ve seen in our New Zealand online business and the support from our local customer base has been really humbling. Our customers have been pre-ordering new collections and ordering items that they couldn’t yet receive. Their love for our brand is a huge motivator for us and will always affect our vision or next steps.