Yesterday, we were tagged in this Instagram picture. It was taken 10 years ago for my friend Chloe Haywood, who was yesterday reminiscing about that day. Chloe makes fabulous hats and, as her collection was going down the catwalk, her girls needed fab shoes to wear too. Cue their feet all decked out in Cocorose shoes.
Seeing this post reminded me of our Cocorose journey and how far we have come. In just a few weeks time, Cocorose will turn 13 years old. Not too bad for a business that I started on a shoestring budget whilst holding down my full time job.
When I look back on our journey, we've had so many break-throughs and wins but also, so many obstacles and curveballs thrown in our direction. We've had to pivot and go down different paths. We've had to adapt to survive.
Working with independent boutiques and department stores around the world, we have felt and been impacted by the challenges of the high street, with each passing year growing more difficult; the immediate impact of BREXIT and the ripple effects thereafter; and this globally challenging coronavirus situation. These are only a few examples of the journey we have ridden in the last few years and why we, as a business, need to remain adaptable and make certain decisions.
I first launched the business online, and every weekend (until it got too cold!), Gareth and I would go to the Backyard Market in East London to sell my new concept of foldable shoes but more importantly, to meet you, our wonderful Cocorosers. Meeting you was so important, as we got to explain my concept and show you, face to face, how they would fold into their little purse.
The excited facial expressions and "Oh Wow, that's amazing!" will live with Gareth and I forever. These moments - and so many others that we've collected over the years - are the fuel that keeps us going; the light that helps guide us through these tricky times.
Fast forward so many years later to 2020 and this business, though SO much has changed, continues to remain focused on our customers. You, our Cocorosers.
It's really hard to put into writing and find the words to describe the emotions that explain how much you mean to us, and to other small businesses. Not just now, but through all times.
Your messages of support, your incredible reviews and the pictures that you send through or tag us into on social media mean so, so much. Because when you're dealing with a small business, everything is personal. Everything matters.
Peppered throughout, you'll see just a few of the wonderful pictures that we received recently. Keep sending them. We love seeing them 💗
As we enter another few weeks of lockdown, I think back to the beginning of March, when lockdown hadn't yet been announced, but was a real possibility. So many questions over the dinner table, over the telephone, face to face with friends (remember that?!). Is this possible? How will we cope? Will there be unrest? Have we got enough pasta? What is enough Pasta? Do you like Pasta anyway?! And yet, much like in business, as the lockdown got underway, we have changed our habits and lifestyles and we have adapted. We are living and doing what seemed so difficult and impossible just a number of weeks ago.
What we are preparing ourselves for now, is that some of this will become the norm. That we will need, at least for a few months, to rethink how we move through life. Priorities are not going to be getting away on holiday to a city break or beach, but to go and see family. I think we need to spend a bit of time thinking how this, like other challenges in our life, are not going to get on top of us and we need to use these experiences as motivation and positivity. More time together, more giving, more respectful of what others bring to our society, more time exploring this United Kingdom. And yes, because I can't stop thinking about it, investing my time and money in businesses that actually contribute to our UK revenue, health system and local services through the taxes that they pay.
Personally, I am rather liking living life at a different pace, but I am very much ready and looking forward to taking the next step and meeting you all again. How about you?
Beautifully written Janan, I heard your soothing voice reading this to me! I remember Cocorose from the very beginning too and how shoes lined every wall in your house! How much effort you would put wrapping each pair in gorgeous packaging and carefully tying the perfect ribbon! Shoes lined every wall in your house! You have come so far on your journey and done so incredibly well, you are a true inspiration. Your passion and creative flair shines through in all your designs.
I love wearing my Cocorose trainers and foldable flats, not only are they stylish and comfy but they remind me of my gorgeous friends, Janan and Gareth each time I put them on…sorry if that sounds a bit gushy but it’s true! Keep on doing what you love and making the world happy with your beautiful shoes.
Wonderful stories and memories for you and your team.