As Sydney's lockdown continues, Ragtrader asks brands how they're managing their businesses. Up first is Local Supply founder Sean Satha.
What are your top tips for WFH?
I’d start with your workspace.
It’s super important to have a dedicated, comfortable and uncluttered space somewhere that’s free from distractions.
It also helps to have a decent setup for your computer.
I work off a laptop, so I connect to a separate screen, keyboard and mouse.
But to be honest, when we first went into lockdown last year, I spent a lot of time working on my laptop from my bed – which wasn’t great for my productivity or my back.
Do you have any advice on how to stay focused and to keep a balance?
Maintain a routine.
It doesn’t have to be the same routine as when you’re commuting to work – but there’s some important stuff that you need to keep doing.
Get dressed, grab a coffee and then sit at your desk.
You have to accept that you might not be seeing anyone face-to-face today, but it’s still important to have a shower and get out of your pyjamas.
What have been the main challenges for your business that you have overcome?
In terms of WFH, the biggest challenge has been communication.
It’s easy to miss something when you’re working from home that might be more obvious in an office environment, e.g. someone’s in a meeting or going home sick.
You don’t want anyone in the team to feel out of the loop – but you also don’t want to be on unnecessary Zoom calls all day.
We’ve found Slack to be a quick and easy way to communicate within our team – and it helps avoid some unnecessary emails and phone calls.
What are the challenges you are facing now and how are you getting through these?
Right now, our biggest issue is physical retail stores being closed.
We usually have a strong wholesale business, and we work with most of the major fashion retailers in Australia, including David Jones, General Pants, Universal Store, Glue Store etc.
Obviously, that’s getting hit pretty hard as our lockdown continues.
There’s not a lot we can do here – so we’re maintaining active communication with our clients and using this time to plan for the upcoming summer.
Have you noticed any changes in customer behaviour? Especially those from Sydney?
We’ve seen an increase in sales of our blue light blocking glasses vs. our sunglasses.
It’s probably driven by an increase in screen time – due to WFH and the recent bad weather in Sydney.
It’s a relatively new product category, so I think there’s also an increasing customer awareness around the benefits of blue light blockers in terms of preventing headaches, sore eyes and other symptoms of digital eye strain, which can be caused by overexposure to blue light from digital devices.
How do you keep yourself and your team motivated?
We try to stay focused on what we can control.
We’ve just had to put some projects on hold and move onto other projects.
From a day-to-day perspective, we’re staying flexible and trying to make the best of the current situation.
I’ve encouraged the team to set their own schedules – so they can help home school kids or get out of the house when the weather’s good.