Times Are Changing

by Carmen

Saturday 22nd September 2018 16:20:33


My email to all my staff about the future of the company on Saturday September 22nd 2018.

(And yes I have chosen a picture of me and my cat Winston at work as the blog post photo, because given the nature of the below email, I wasn't really sure what to put).

Dear Team,

It is Saturday evening and I'm here at work trying to figure out the world with tears in my eyes. We are certainly having a challenging time in the company right now. I couldn't ask for better staff! You all do an amazing job, and are literally perfect for each of your individual job roles. 

I would like to call a meeting to discuss what operational and management changes we can implement to help the company run better as we experience growth. I feel we are beginning to transition more into the world of big events which has bought up a whole bucket of new issues and exacerbated other current issues. Of course we'll always be a wedding company too, but with a perfect 50/50 split this year to weddings vs events, there has been a notable culture change here at work. After recent feedback from a few wedding customers (luckily only a few) it was claimed we are becoming too impersonal, which I guess is a natural progression when it goes from being one person running a business to a whole team of people. That isn't to say however, we can't bring that personal touch back. On balance we still mostly have overall positive feedback from all types of customers, including brides and grooms. And as for the bigger events companies I feel we need to understand their needs more, really get involved, go visit them, even help out for free just to see the world as they see it.

I have invited Russell and Daniel, our main drivers, and James our very helpful all-rounder who we call upon pretty much every week to help out, to the meeting. They are as integral as everyone else to The Prop Factory, and I think can contribute some valuable points of view. I want the company to work for everyone, and for everyone to have a happy job they enjoy, always. 

It would be good to hear about any issues you have experienced or can foresee, and your view points in general. Then we can come up with a plan to implement changes for the immediate future and for the next season. Starting right now, I am booking out the farmhouse benches so we get no new bookings for them until they have been changed to make our lives and the customers lives easier in regards to the amount of time they take to assemble. Also I will borrow latches from our current outdoor tables and benches to fix the farmhouse tables as an interim solution for the bolt issue. Christmas is coming up and we can't be providing difficult to assemble furniture in this important time for the world of events! In regards to implementing the changes we are very fortunate that we have two full-time students starting in November for 3 months, in logistics and administration, so we can get them involved in helping with the changes. Also our quietest time is coming up in January and February so we can really concentrate on operational issues.

This email comes from the heart, as I had a bit of a moment this week, where I thought "what am I doing? Is there any easier way, should I get a 9 to 5 job. Is all the struggle really (really!) worth it". I had that mental block and found it hard to push forward. It has really effected my health again, which I was trying so hard to avoid. I'm shattered, after barely sleeping last night because I was worrying about the company following a troublesome week. I had one of those very low moments last night where I just didn't want to be here anymore. I wanted to drift off into an eternal sleep so all my problems would end and I could feel relief from the weight I carry on my shoulders. I know 100% that this is my BiPolar making my thoughts so drastic, so I don't want to put a dampener on anyone's day or make people feel like they should do more, as you all already do enough. I also sincerely hope none of you are reading your emails over the weekend as your weekend is for you to enjoy, although I know that is not the case as you are all so very good to the company! It has definitely all got on top of me. I know it is a hump we are getting over in order to grow so we can sustain ourselves as a company - while still maintaining the same level of customer service and lovely staff happiness we have already. And all without blowing the bank balance causing the company to loose money and fail.

So having said this, I think sometimes you need to hit the bottom to evoke action, which means this can be turned into a positive situation. As I am here now, Jensen has gone to my mums and I'm at work planning and thinking about solutions - thank goodness! I'm not at home in my PJ's wallowing. I have been reading all sorts of useful books to try and help. We are a bunch of super creative thinkers, and between all of us we can make this business not only work but be an amazing example of what a good conscientious company should be :) My motivation for having the business isn't money, it is good things like providing creative and inclusive employment, and trying to offer a better, more socially and environmentally responsible solution to such a wasteful industry. Alongside helping our economy by not importing goods or outsourcing work abroad, and also to pay people fairly to reflect the job they do. Work in progress I know guys, if we had more money you'd be first in line to get it before Adam and myself. I have added to my action plan a long term pay scale, which I have been working on anyway, that is inline with my beliefs of what a company should be. 

Please let me know when you are available for the meeting. :)


Tags: New Market London Events Business Growth Girl Boss Staff Customer Service Ethical Company Environmentally Friendly Company Social Responsibility Mental Health