By Ellen Leaf-Moore, Fezziwig’s Marketplace
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in the spring of 2020, we were faced with the same questions and concerns that millions of people were experiencing. What do we do now? What’s safe? How do we act and react? How can we help? All these questions needed answers, and for us, the answer was love. We will get through this with love.
Yes, I know this sounds a bit “fluffy” but stay with me.
It’s the love for the well-being of our customers, friends and family. It’s the love for our fellow teammates who literally immersed themselves in our customer service philosophy every single day; and it’s the passionate love for our store and products that has never wavered in 14 years.
Pivoting During the Pandemic
I would love to tell you that we sat down one night at the kitchen table and figured out our plan of action… but we didn’t. Every step and idea came organically and was guided by our intuition and faith, our teammates innovative thoughts, and our customers ideas and feedback. We did it together. We took all this information and “pivoted” (the big buzz-word during this COVID-19 journey) within two days of the news of the shutdowns.
When making our plan, we went back to our mission statement, which is “To Create Exceptional and Memorable Experiences,” and then created a plan using this philosophy as our guiding light. How can we create these exceptional experiences and memories when the store is not open? We set our intentions toward a few focused categories that all linked back to the word I stated above – love. This is what we believe everyone needed: hope, inspiration and connection.
To serve our customers and team, we needed to stay connected and perhaps become even more connected than before. We wanted to be the easiest, most cheerful company to work with. We wanted to be a “bright spot” for people – and this was our plan:
Focus on E-commerce
Our biggest push was to get as much product on our website as possible so we could ship, deliver or offer safe curbside pickup to our customers. We had revamped our website and it was working well for the e-commerce side of our business; however, we always saw it as an opportunity to grow. The pandemic sure kicked that goal into high gear, and it became our beacon of survival thanks to my husband, Tim.
We curated a Spring & Summer Tea Sampler box that had 20 new teas with a description and the story behind it, along with an incentive to purchase any of them online within 30 days.
We happily produced inspirational and motivational videos several times each week with tips, recipes, education, ideas and inspiration for creating happiness in the home, including how to host an Easter Tea Party. We tried to be the source of hope, positivity and, here it is again, love!
Now, to come full circle, we believe when you give love genuinely, it comes back to you. Let me share with you that our incredible customers, and our amazing Fezziwig’s team, showered us with love in return. We were able to stay afloat and keep the business going, while scheduling our employees for several hours each week. During the pandemic, we would call that success.
We are now back open with many safety precautions in place, and our customers continue to support us and other small businesses in our area. We continue to reinvent new ways of doing business and strive to give our customers “exceptional experiences and memories.”
I will leave you with some words of love from one our customers who wrote this email in April of 2020. I can’t say it any better than she did, and we are eternally grateful.
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for the summer tea sampler. I ordered extra ones for my five friends who are in Indiana, Oregon, Virginia and California. I randomly pulled teas from the elegantly packaged box and we would try one each day, then chat via Facebook Messenger. It was such fun to compare notes with each other and enjoy their friendship over the miles. We just can’t thank you enough for providing hope, fun and delicious tea for all of us. We are truly satisfied customers for life!”
– Becky T. of Oregon
Ellen Leaf-Moore (pictured with her husband Tim Moore) is the owner of Fezziwig’s Marketplace in O’Fallon, Ill. She’s also a Certified Level 4 STI Graduate. See FezziwigsMarket.com to learn more.